M’Liss (1918)


Mary Pickford 1

Mary Pickford Season: FD Cinematheque

M’Liss (1918)

Director: Marshall Neilan

Cast: Mary Pickford, Theodore Roberts, Thomas Meighan, Tully Marshall, Charles Ogle, Monte Blue, Winifred Greenwood, Helen Kelly, Val Paul, William H Brown, John Burton, Charles A Post, Guy Oliver, Steve Murphy, Harry L Rattenberry, Charles Stevens

73 min

M'Liss 1918 1

M'Liss 1918 2

 

M’Liss is a 1918 American silent film directed by Marshall Neilan, written by Frances Marion and based on a Bret Harte story. The film was made previously in 1915 and was remade again in 1922 as The Girl Who Ran Wild, starring Gladys Walton. Another same-titled remake was released in 1936, starring Anne Shirley.

M'Liss 1918 7

Plot

The film takes place in the mining town of Red Gulch in the High Sierra. M’Liss (Mary Pickford) is one of the inhabitants whose father “Bummer” (Theodore Roberts) lost his fortune in the gold mines. Now his only investment, which pays a dividend, is his chicken Hildegarde. M’Liss regards herself as a crook and robs Yuba Bill’s stage coach. Yuba, however, is fascinated by the young lady and does not mind.

M’Liss is the only person in Bummer’s life, since his brother Jonathan, a wealthy pioneer, lives in San Francisco. One day, Jonathan turns his face toward the Sunset Trail. Clara Peterson (Winifred Goodwin) has been his nurse for over three years and her brother Jim (Val Paul) finds out they will receive $500 each for their services after his death. He is outraged they will get only that small amount of money.

Charles Gray (Thomas Meighan) is the school teacher who wants M’Liss to go to school as well. M’Liss isn’t interested in an education. Charles keeps on pursuing her and she finally decides to go. He demands her to mind her manners when she’s at school. She talks back to the boards members and is expelled. Charles, however, is charmed by the brave young girl. That same day, Bummer gets stabbed in the back by an unknown person. The sheriff suspects Charles, since he was the last person to visit Bummer.

When M’Liss is informed, she is crushed. She is invited to visit the murderer in jail and is shocked to find out it’s Charles. Three weeks later, a murder trial starts. M’Liss is the only one believing in Charles’ innocence. His wife Clara reaches town to visit him, only to find out he died. M’Liss refuses to believe she is her mother. Finally, Charles is sent to jail for 60 years. M’Liss helps him escape, but the police follow him. M’Liss witnesses them shooting Charles, but does not know they went after the wrong guy and actually shot Jim. Jim and Mexican Joe, the help of the sheriff, admit they killed Bummer for his will. The fortune is now send to M’Liss and a hidden Charles is set free and reunites with M’Liss.

M'Liss 1918 6

Cast

Reception

Like many American films of the time, M’Liss was subject to cuts by city and state film censorship boards. For example, the Chicago Board of Censors required cuts, in Reel 5, of the intertitle “Say, sheriff, how about a little necktie party” and the scene of the sheriff looking up tree and dropping rope.[3]

References

  1. Jump up^ The New York Times Review Remakes
  2. Jump up^ Progressive Silent Film List: M’Liss at silentera.com
  3. Jump up^ “Official Cut-Outs by the Chicago Board of Censors”. Exhibitors Herald. New York City: Exhibitors Herald Company. 6 (21): 31. May 18, 1918.

M'Liss 1918 11

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s