Musically it's no Rodgers & Hammerstein; but it is an exceptional adaptation from comic strip to cinema, the more so considering its meager budget. Leslie Parrish, Peter Palmer (reprising his Broadway role as Abner), Billie Hayes and Al Nesor are dead ringers for their Dogpatch counterparts, and so is everyone else ...except for Earthquake McGoon (though no one notices). Cult legend Julie Newmar has a minor role as Stupefyin' Jones, and Jerry Lewis makes a stupified cameo. Only Salomey is missing!
Script and sets have a trace of Al Capp's sharp pen and wit ("'Afternoon, I'm Moonbeam McSwine; sleepin' out with pigs is mah line"), and even the choreography resembles the strip's manic tempo and outlandish draftsmanship -something the much more lavished "Dick Tracy" tried hard to achieve years later, but didn't.
Given today's infatuation with putting comics and graphic novels on film, it would be interesting to see a LI'L ABNER remake done with state of the art technology, but only if they repeat what makes this forgotten movie a gem: good script and good casting. One can put all the eye-popping visuals money can buy on screen, they won't amount to much if those two basic ingredients are missing. Remember PEARL HARBOR, and that SUPERMAN RETURNS bomb!