The Terror of Tiny Town

The Terror of Tiny Town ★★

Last night on a whim I was struck with the inspiration of revisiting a rather bizarre 1930's film, one which was viewed like a decade ago. In most regards this is a standard 1930's musical Western... about an hour long, a few songs, stereotypical characters where the heroes are in white and the villains in black... only this stands out as the entire cast is comprised of people who were known then as midgets but now the acceptable term is dwarfism. It was an idea from producer Jed Buell... to clarify, the credits say that the cast is “Jed Buell's midgets” as if he had a troupe of them and probably exploited them with them barely getting any of the profits. In actuality, that was just a gimmick and he did not have a troupe of little people. Instead, he and others found them for the movie... where they got exploited and who knows how much money they got. I don't know how much many of them got when they appeared in The Wizard of Oz a year later but at least that movie is a classic.

This begins with an intro w/ the two stars where they are in character and argue over who the star is. We are also told to take this seriously. For some reason, that was a little difficult to do when it was filmed on regular-sized sets so the cast walked under the swinging saloon doors and hitching posts, they needed a step to stand at the bar and rode Shetland ponies. The story has the bad guy playing both sides against each other as he blackmails the sheriff (who was formerly a bad guy himself) and the hero also starts a romance. There's fistfights, an attempted stagecoach robbery and other tropes, none of which were presented particularly well or memorably. A few wacky moments do occur which I won't spoil here, but this would be forgotten like many B-movie Westerns have been if not for a gimmick that just comes off poorly in 2020.

Your opinion on whether the cast was victimized is up to you; I say that even divorced from the stature of the cast being the entire draw, this is a not so good Western.

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