Devil is a Sissy, The (1936): Van Dyke’s Serio Comedy, Starring Freddie Bartholomew, Jackie Cooper and Mickey Rooney

The main reason today to see The Devil is a Sissy, Van Dyke’s serio-comedy, is the opportunity to observe the three biggest child stars of the 1930s, Freddie Bartholomew, Jackie Cooper and Mickey Rooney.

The film is on a screenplay called The Devil Is a Sissie, which screenwriters Rowland Brown and Frank Frenton were working on in 1935.

While Rowland Brown is still considered by some to be a co-director, he only helmed one or two scenes before being replaced. According to 1936 reports, most of the scenes that Brown had filmed were discarded and then reshot by W. S. Van Dyke. The film’s official credits name Van Dyke as the sole director.

Claude Pierce is an aristocratic and well-bred boy from England, whose parents have divorced. According to the agreement, Claude spends six months living with his father. Jay Pierce, the father in question, has settled in New York City, where he works as an architect.

Claude’s “polished” manners make him stand out among his schoolmates, and the other kids start playing pranks on him. He soon gets on the bad side of two lower-class kids, Robert “Buck” Murphy and James “Gig” Stevens.

Freddie Bartholomew as Claude ‘Limey’ Pierce
Jackie Cooper as Robert ‘Buck’ Murphy
Mickey Rooney as James ‘Gig’ Stevens
Ian Hunter as Jay Pierce
Katharine Alexander as Hilda Pierce
Peggy Conklin as Rose Hawley
Gene Lockhart as Mr. Jim ‘Murph’ Murphy
Kathleen Lockhart as Mrs. Murphy
Jonathan Hale as Judge Holmes
Etienne Girardot as Mr. Crusenberry, the Principal
Sherwood Bailey as Bugs
Buster Slaven as Six-Toes
Grant Mitchell as Paul Krumpp