CHINA’S LITTLE DEVILS

WWII ERA ANTI-JAPANESE WAR FILM

By Henry Sakaida

When I was a kid growing up during the era of black & white television, I saw the movie China’s Little Devils. It was produced by Monogram Pictures in 1945 and starred Lawrence “Ducky” Louie, Harry Carey, Jimmie Dodd (Mickey Mouse Club!), and the two classic “Japanese” villains: Philip Ahn and Richard Loo. Believe me, I used to get excited by these ultra patriotic American WWII movies where they mow down the evil Japanese by the truckload! My Japanese ethnicity had no influence as far as this movie was concerned. To a ten year old, the idea of kids throwing hand grenades and engaging in combat was inspirational!



China's little devils

Movie poster for “China’s Little Devils”.

The theme of this movie is about a group of young, cute, innocent, wholesome Chinese school children out in the country, attending a Catholic missionary school. “Little Butch” Dooley (Ducky Louie) was the oldest kid at 13, a scrappy orphan with an “attitude” towards authority and hatred for the Japanese. Briefly adopted by members of the Flying Tigers, he wanted to fight, but his AVG mentors told him that he was simply too young.

The pilots shipped him off to Catholic school. Ugh. Who wants to go to school when evil invaders are running amok and mistreating everyone?!! Undaunted, our hero organized a group of his classmates, all younger than him, to engage in sabotage of Japanese depots and guerrilla warfare! Butch was the role model whom everyone followed. In the end, he picks up a Thompson M1928 submachine gun with a 50 round drum magazine and sacrifices his life, wiping out dozens of the enemy. Wow!!!

The movie is somewhat low quality and the theme is anti-Japanese. But hey, it’s a fun and cheesy flick!

little devils

Lawrence “Ducky” Louie

Lawrence “Ducky” Louie was born in San Francisco, CA on 22 July 1931. He made his film debut in China’s Little Devils in 1945, and went on to appear in 4 other movies (Back to Bataan, 1945; China Sky, 1945; Black Gold, 1947, and Smuggler’s Island , 1951). Black Gold was an American Western, and his last flick was a South Seas adventure saga. He retired from Hollywood. There just wasn’t a big demand for young Asian-American actors after the war. He became a dentist and resides in Northern California.

China’s Little Devil original 35mm film footage was up for sale many years ago. The collector in Canada wanted $5500.00 for it, but it is unknown if it sold. There is no copyright on the film anymore.



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