Wee Willie Winkie (1937)

Priscilla (Shirley Temple) is the title character in Wee Willie Winkie.  She is a little girl who arrives with her mother at a British post in India where her grandfather is the commanding officer. On the same day, the Khoda Khan (Cesar Romero), the leader of the Muslims with whom the British are at war, is captured. A spy in the compound facilitates his escape. Later, the spy brings Priscilla to the hideout, which is impregnable against the British army owing to the narrow pass that must be crossed to reach it. The Khoda Khan is ecstatic. He realizes that the colonel will bring the entire regiment to try to rescue his granddaughter, and the British soldiers will be slaughtered to a man. It’s the chance he has been waiting for all his life.

So, he has two of his men throw the spy over a cliff.

I guess the idea is that they did not need him anymore, and besides, he’s funny-looking and irritating. This begs the question as to why anyone would be loyal to such a leader (it would certainly occur to me that one day I might get old and not be of much use anymore, and then the Khoda Khan would have me thrown over a cliff). Of course, the real point is to show that these people are cruel and ruthless, and therefore deserve to be ruled by the British, which in the end they are, because Priscilla warms the heart of the Khoda Khan, bringing about an end to the war.


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