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Little Princess, The (1917)


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Mary Pickford Season: FD Cinematheque

The Little Princess (1917)

Director: Marshall Neilan, Howard Hawks

Cast: Mary Pickford, Norman Kerry, Katherine Griffith, Anne Schaefer, Zasu Pitts, WE Lawrence, Theodore Roberts, Gertrude Short, Gustav von Seyffertitz, Loretta Blake, George A McDaniel, Edythe Chapman, Josephine Hutchinson, Joan Marsh, Joe Murphy

62 min

 

A Little Princess is a 1917 American silent film directed by Marshall Neilan based upon the novel A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. This version is notable for having been adapted by famed female screenwriter Frances Marion.[1]

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Plot 

As described in a film magazine,[2] Sara Crewe (Pickford) is treated as a little princess at the Minchin boarding school for children until it is learned that her father has lost his entire fortune, and she is made a slavey (a household servant). She and Becky (Pitts), another slavey, become close friends who share their joys and sorrows.

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Christmastime draws near and the girls watch the preparations wistfully. Their loneliness arouses the sympathy of a servant of the rich Mr. Carrisford. On the night before Christmas he prepares a spread for the slaveys in their attic. He calls his master Mr. Carrisford (von Seyffertitz) to watch their joy, but both are witness to the slaveys being abused and whipped by Miss Minchin (Griffith). Carrisford interferes and learns that Sara is the daughter of his best friend. He adopts Sara and Becky and in their new home they have a real Christmas.

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The film opens with Sarah’s father moving back to London after serving in the British Army in India. She is opposed to leaving the luxurious life of an officer’s child with a large house and many servants, and is initially shy when enrolled in Miss Minchin’s School. Her reputation as “the little princess” precedes her and the other girls are fascinated with her tales of life in India. The girls sneak into Sarah’s room at night to listen to her stories. One night, she tells “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” which becomes a story within a story with elaborate exotic sets and costumes.

 

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Cast

References

  1. Jump up^ Progressive Silent Film List: A Little Princess at silentera.com
  2. Jump up^ “Reviews: A Little Princess. Exhibitors Herald. New York: Exhibitors Herald Company. 5 (22): 29. November 24, 1917.

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Love Light, The (1921)


Mary Pickford 1

Mary Pickford Season: FD Cinematheque

Love Light, The (1921)

Director: Frances Marion

Cast: Mary Pickford, Evelyn Dumo, Raymond Bloomer, Fred Thompson, Albert Prisco, George Regas, Eddie Phillips, Jean De Briac

89 min

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Plot

Based upon a summary in a film publication,[2] Angela (Pickford), an Italian girl, bids goodbye to her second brother, who is the youngest, as he goes off to join the troops. Then comes news that her older brother has been killed in the war. Giovanni (Bloomer), who loves Angela, tries to comfort her, and then he too is called. Left alone, Angela is made a keeper of the lighthouse. Joseph (Thomson) arrives and says that he is an American and a deserter. They are later secretly married. One night he has Angela flash him a “love” signal using the lighthouse.

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The next morning an Italian ship carrying wounded men is reported as having been destroyed at midnight, the hour when the signal was sent. Angela steals some chocolate from Tony (Regas) for Joseph to take with him. When she arrives home, she hears Joseph murmur in his sleep “Gott mitt uns,” and it dawns on her that her husband is a German spy. Tony traces the theft to her, and after he says that her wounded brother had been on the ship, she realizes that it was the signal that sent her brother to his death. She gives up Joseph, who still proclaims his love for her. Joseph breaks away from his jailers and plunges over a cliff to his death. Later, with her and Joseph’s baby, Angela is happy with her old sweetheart Giovanni, who has returned from the war blind.

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Cast

Reception

Photoplay published a very critical review by Burns Mantle. He wrote, in summary, “The Love Light is a poor picture in the sense of being quite unworthy of the star’s talents. The story is developed without reasonable logic and filmed with only the value of the pictures in mind. The Love Light’s one value to my mind is that it takes the nation’s sweetheart out of curls and short frocks and makes a woman of her.”[3]

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See also

References[

  1. Jump up^ Progressive Silent Film List: The Love Light at silentera.com
  2. Jump up^ “The Love Light: They’re Going to Like the Production and Mary Too”. Film Daily. New York City: Wyd’s Films and Film Folks, Inc. 15 (14): 7. Jan 16, 1921. Retrieved 2014-03-05.
  3. Jump up^ Mantle, Burns (April 1921). “The Shadow Stage”. Photoplay. New York: Photoplay Publishing Co.

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