Set in San Francisco during the early 1900s, the film revolves around Amarilly (Mary Pickford), the daughter of a widowed scrubwoman. Amarilly is proud of her hard-working Irish family, and takes care of her five roughhouse brothers. She is engaged to bartender Terry McGowan (William Scott), who gets her a job as a cigarette girl in his cafe after a fire unfairly causes her to lose her job as a theater scrubwoman. While working as a cigarette girl, she meets Gordon Phillips (Norman Kerry), a handsome and wealthy but frivolous young man, who is a society sculptor.
Terry becomes jealous when Amarilly starts hanging out with Gordon, and he breaks off the engagement. Gordon offers Amarilly a job with his wealthy and snobbish aunt, Mrs. Phillips (Ida Waterman). When the neighborhood is quarantined after a breakout of scarlet fever, Mrs. Phillips decides to take the time to teach Amarilly high class manners in a Pygmalion-like experiment. However, once she discovers her nephew has fallen in love with Amarilly, she turns against her. Mrs. Phillips tries to humiliate Amarilly by inviting her family over for a social party.
Amarilly is outraged and returns to her old home. She sees Terry and invites him for supper. He is delighted, and on the way to her house, he stops to buy expensive 50 cent violets, even though he had earlier passed up violets at 15 cents. He is shot by accident, and barely makes it to Amarilly’s house before collapsing. Fortunately, Terry survives. Amarilly visits him in the hospital and tells him that when he gets out, they have a date at City Hall.
The final scene is five years later. Amarilly is in a side car on Terry’s motor bike; they both are nicely dressed and seem to be doing well. Then it is revealed under the blanket she has a baby, and behind Terry is a little boy.
Like many American films of the time, Amarilly of Clothes-Line Alley was subject to cuts by city and state film censorship boards. For example, the Chicago Board of Censors required a cut, i Reel 1, of a closeup of money in a man’s hand and, Reel 4, maid opening door to alleged house of ill-fame and man entering.
Mary Pickford plays Priscilla an unemployed maid who finds work at a farm. There she meets a no-good peddler who starts flirting with her and makes her fall in love with him. He runs up a gambling bill and asks her to help him pay his debts or he won’t be able to marry her.
A police officer finds a baby in a trash can, and Mrs. Lippett, the cruel matron at an orphanage where children are made to work, names her “Jerusha Abbott” (she picks “Abbott” out of a phone book and gets “Jerusha” from a tombstone). The orphan, who comes to be called Judy, does what she can to stand up for the younger children, frequently clashing with both Mrs. Lippett and the cold hearted trustees. At one point she leads a rebellion against being served prunes with every meal and at another, steals a doll from a selfish rich girl to lend to a dying orphan.
Years later, wealthy Jervis Pendleton, a mysterious benefactor, pays to send Judy, now the oldest and most talented child in the orphanage, to college. He insists, however, that Judy must never try to contact him in person. Judy calls him “Daddy-Long-Legs,” and writes to him, however. Judy proves popular with her wealthier and more “aristocratic” classmates, and writes a successful book to repay “Daddy-Long-Legs” the money he spent on her. She is generally happy but misses not having any real family members to take pride in her accomplishments. Judy also finds herself caught up in a romantic triangle with the older brother of a classmate and an older man (who is, unknown to her, her mysterious benefactor). She eventually chooses the older suitor and is delighted to learn that he is her “Daddy-Long-Legs.”
Peggy is a feisty peasant girl who catches the eye of a wealthy lord. Enamored with her, he proposes, but she harshly refuses. Her mother pushes her into the marriage against her will. After their marriage, she makes a fool of herself among the socialites at her husband’s party. In the height of her embarrassment, her husband’s nephew convinces her to run away with him. She innocently agrees, but it soon becomes obvious what the nephew’s true intentions were.
Cast: Herbert Prior, Mary Pickford, Owen Moore, David Miles, Harry Solter, Marion Leonard, Charles Avery, Mack Sennett
D W Griffith
The Violin Maker of Cremona is an American silentshort film made in 1909 and directed by DW Griffith . This is Pickford’s first fully credited film. However, it is presently still unclear whether she had extras roles in previous Biograph films.
Cremona held a competition on the best violin. If you win this game, you may marry the beautiful Gianinna. Two people start fighting for her hand.
The film opens in a fancy restaurant where the husband and a woman who is not his wife are polishing off a bottle of wine. Cut to home, where a dejected wife sits at the dining room table waiting for her husband. She briefly nods off before rousing and checking the wall clock indicating that it’s getting late. Cut back to the fancy restaurant, where the husband settles the check with a large wad of bills. The waiter obliges by helping the husband and his lady companion with their hats and coats. The other woman kicks the husbands hat out of his hand.
Six hours later, the husband strides through the door awakening his wife who is still sitting by the dining room table. He rebuffs her attempt to take his hat, whereupon she points to the wall clock. She draws his attention to dinner, which still sits on the dining table. He upends a few dishes then overturns a chair before collapsing on the sofa, cigarette in hand. Upset, the wife walks off camera and the scene fades to black.
In the next scene, introduced by a title card stating “HIS DREAM”, the wife returns, clad in a form-fitting dress and a plumed hat. She awakens the husband by jostling his head. Talking animatedly, she downs a couple of glasses of wine from a decanter on the sideboard and tosses the wineglass on the floor. She drop-kicks a plate, lights up a cigarette, flicks the match at her husband, and blows smoke in his face. She pelts him with a pillow that has been lying on the floor, slings her coat over her arm, pulls down the curtains covering the door, and blows the husband a kiss goodbye. A well-appointed gentleman arrives at the front steps to their house a second or two before the wife steps out the front door and they leave together.
Confounded by what he has just witnessed, the husband grabs his hat and coat and leaves. The wife and her gentleman caller arrive by taxi at the fancy restaurant where they are shown to the same table the husband had occupied earlier. The husband arrives hot on their heels, briefly considers confronting them, but then flees, distressed by the whole affair. He stumbles out into the street before returning home. There he rants wildly, repeatedly grasping his forehead before settling down to compose a letter which reads in part “You’re not the woman I supposed you were.” Stumbling to the sideboard, he pulls out a small revolver from a drawer, points it at his abdomen, pulls the trigger, and collapses spasmodically on the sofa.
In the next scene, introduced by a title card stating “HIS AWAKENING”, he falls off the sofa and stands up, clutching his abdomen. His wife enters the scene, this time reclad in her modest attire, and startles him. He recounts his vivid experience, she comforts him and helps him realize it was all just a dream. While she turns her attention to preparing dessert on the dining room table, he pulls his address book from his suitcoat pocket and shreds it. Reconciled, they embrace and then settle down to eat the confection.
In Old Madrid (1911) is a Mary Pickford film directed by Thomas H Ince.
Thomas H Ince
Don Gomez writes a letter to the parents of Zelda, a young Spanish girl, regretting his inability to pay them a visit, but sends his son, Jose, instead. Jose arrives and is immediately smitten by the charms of Zelda. Zelda indulges in a little flirtation.
Her mother inaugurates a system of espionage that is very inconvenient for the lovers. They are surprised by the duenna-like mother and are driven to desperation.
Zelda has a girlfriend about her age who resembles her and is attired to represent a clever counterpart of Zelda. The mother walks in the garden accompanied by Zelda. Seating herself on a bench, she commands the girl to repose beside her. Finding the vigil rather tiresome, the elder woman lapses into a state of drowsiness, and the companions of Zelda beckon her to join them.
So clever is the disguise of Rosa that Jose is deceived and he kisses her. The father of Zelda discovers the act and hastens to the mother to inform her only to see Zelda yawning beside his wife on the bench. Exhausted, the guardian falls asleep, and Rosa exchanges places with Zelda, who joins her lover. Jose induces Zelda to accompany him to the seashore.
He gathers the girl in his arms, and wades across a stretch of water, and they take a perilous position on the rocks. A search is instituted and Zelda and Jose are discovered on the rocks. Jose has a scheme which he quickly imparts to Zelda and she acquiesces. The irate parents see the daughter and her lover.
Jose is firm and threatens to throw Zelda into the roaring torrent, unless the parents consent to their immediate marriage. The agonized parents relent. The obdurate parents have been outwitted by the scheming lovers.
A group of criminals waits until a wealthy man goes out to break into his house and threaten his wife and daughters. They refuge themselves inside one of the rooms, but the thieves break in. The father finds out what is happening and runs back home to try to save his family.
The New York Hat is one of the most notable of the Biograph Studios short films and is perhaps the best known example of Pickford’s early work, and an example of Anita Loos‘s witty writing. The film was made by Biograph when it and many other early U.S. movie studios were based in Fort Lee, New Jersey at the beginning of the 20th century.
Mollie Goodhue leads a cheerless, impoverished life, largely because of her stern, miserly father. Mrs. Goodhue is mortally ill, but before dying, she gives the minister, Preacher Bolton, some money with which to buy her daughter the “finery” her father always forbade her.
Mollie is delighted when the minister presents her with a fashionable New York hat she has been longing for, but village gossips misinterpret the minister’s intentions and spread malicious rumors. Mollie becomes a social pariah, and her father tears up the beloved hat in a rage.
All ends well, however, after the minister produces a letter from Mollie’s mother about the money she left the minister to spend on Mollie. Soon afterwards, he proposes to Mollie, who accepts his offer of marriage.
Spoiled Amy Burke (Mary Pickford) lives with her doting grandfather, ruthless business magnate Alexander Guthrie (Ralph Lewis), in his Fifth Avenue, New York City mansion. She is initially delighted when he offers to take her with him on a trip to Europe. However, as the day approaches for their departure, she changes her mind and decides to go live with her newly returned father, “sociological writer” John Burke (T. D. Crittenden), at Craigen Street, wherever that is. Unused to having his plans thwarted, Guthrie becomes cold to his beloved granddaughter.
Craigen Street turns out to be in one of the slums of lower New York, the subject of her father’s study. At first, Amy is horrified by the squalor. She makes it clear to a couple of friendly young women who want to become acquainted and to Nora (Aggie Herring), her father’s cook and servant, that she feels she is far above them. Deeply unhappy, she eventually takes her father’s advice to treat their neighbors as equals. She fits in after several weeks. She makes friends with boy inventor Dish Lowry and young man William Turner (Kenneth Harlan), a reclusive neighbor. Amy also ends a years-long feud between Irishman Pat O’Shaughnessy (Andrew Arbuckle) and Jew Abram Isaacs (Max Davidson) through good-natured trickery.
When a policeman is alerted by a sore loser to her game of craps in the street, she escapes by hiding under the cloak of newcomer Peter Cooper, who takes a room on the floor above the Burkes’. Unbeknownst to Amy, the new resident is actually her grandfather in disguise, come to see how she is doing. He is initially disgusted with her behavior, noting on paper that she “has become a hoodlum”. When Amy takes a sick mother and her children under her wing, she asks Cooper to look after a baby, only to be brusquely rebuffed. Cooper has a change of heart, however, and adopts a whole new, more benevolent attitude, much to Amy’s delight. He returns to his mansion a changed man (taking along Dish Lowry).
One night, Amy spots a thief in Turner’s room. The intruder flees. Turner informs Amy that it was no thief but an agent of Alexander Guthrie looking for his writings. Guthrie framed him to hide corrupt business practices, resulting in a year in the penitentiary. Amy and Turner break into her grandfather’s mansion to try to steal evidence that would prove him innocent, but set off a burglar alarm and are caught. When Guthrie recognizes Amy, he has Turner freed and offers to exonerate him. Afterward, Amy and Turner are married.
The first sound version of the play on film, this version was planned as a sound film from the start. Pickford had already made her sound film debut in Coquette (1929) so The Taming of the Shrew marked her second talkie.  This version of the film is primarily known for how Pickford delivers Katherina’s last speech. As she moves though the litany of reasons why a woman should obey her husband, she winks toward Bianca, unseen by Petruchio. Bianca smiles in silent communication with Katherina, thus acknowledging that Katherina has not been tamed at all. Pickford and Fairbanks’ marriage was breaking down even before filming began, and animosity between the couple increased during filming. In later years, Pickford stated that working on the film was the worst experience of her life, although she also acknowledged that Fairbanks’ performance was one of his best.
Fairbanks biographer Jeffrey Vance, writing in 2008, believes “Taming of the Shrew has never received the recognition it deserves as the first talking film of a Shakespeare play. It was not only technically superior to the majority of talking pictures in 1929 but would unquestionably be the finest translation onto film of Shakespeare for some time to come.” Vance also sees the film as a window into the Pickford-Fairbanks marriage: “As a reenactment of the Pickford-Fairbanks marriage, Taming of the Shrew continues to fascinate as a rather grim comedy. The two willful, larger-than-life personalities working at cross-purposes and conveying their resentment and frustration to each other through blatant one-upmanship and harsh wounds is both the movie and the marital union.” 
After many years out of circulation, the film was re-released in 1966 in a new cut supervised by Pickford herself. New sound effects and music were added throughout, much of the voice dubbing was enhanced with newly available technology, and seven minutes were cut from the initial print. This re-released version is the only version now available on DVD or VHS.
The film opens in the Ozarks where a distraught Pollyanna (Mary Pickford) is comforting her father the Reverend John Whittier (Wharton James) as he dies. After his death Pollyanna is sent to live on a New Englandplantation with her Victorian Aunt Polly (Katherine Griffith).
Aunt Polly is cold and uncaring to Pollyanna: not picking her up at the station, giving her a sparse room in the attic, and scolding at her every chance she gets. As the days pass Pollyanna’s antics amuse the servants, but not Aunt Polly.
One day while playing on the plantation, Pollyanna gets in trouble with a servant woman and runs to hide in a haystack. There she meets Jimmy Bean (Howard Ralston), an orphan her age. Taking pity on him, Pollyanna is certain eventually Aunt Polly will let him live with them. So she hides him in the cellar. One day Aunt Polly insists in going in the cellar despite Pollyanna’s pleas for fear Jimmy will be discovered. Jimmy is asleep and Pollyanna believes they’re in the clear; until Jimmy starts shouting in his sleep, having a bad dream about turnips chasing and trying to eat him. Pollyanna is amused but Aunt Polly is not. After some pleading, Aunt Polly relents and tells Pollyanna to bring some good quilts for Jimmy.
One day, as Jimmy and Pollyanna play with the other children, they decide to try and steal some apples from a tree belonging to John Pendleton (William Cortleigh). John catches Pollyanna in the act, but forgives her, realizing she is the exact image of her mother, a woman he once loved deeply, but who left him to marry the man who eventually became Pollyanna’s father. He tells Pollyanna this as he shows her a painting of her mother. Meanwhile Jimmy fights his way in, fearing that Pollyanna is in danger. He tries to defend her but finds that everything is normal.
As Pollyanna settles in she seems to bring optimism to those she meets. She is insistent on playing a game her father taught her called ‘The Glad Game’, where one counts the things they are glad for. She visits an old shut-in who is supposedly grateful for nothing. Pollyanna brings along an old blind and deaf friend who plays the accordion. Upon discovering the woman is blind and deaf, the shut-in proclaims her gratitude for still having her sight and hearing.
One day after a fight with Jimmy in which he ‘wishes she would die’, Pollyanna heads into town. She notices a little girl playing in the middle of the road, oblivious to a car coming. Pollyanna leaps in front of the car, throwing the girl to safety, but in the process is hit herself. Jimmy and John both take her back to her Aunt’s place. Aunt Polly becomes frantic and places her in her own lavish bedroom. Realizing the error of her ways, Aunt Polly declares how attached to Pollyanna she is; even giving her a kiss on the forehead, much to Pollyanna’s delight.
Realizing they could have lost the little girl forever, many succumb to her wishes for them to be happy. John promises to adopt Jimmy the next day. Aunt Polly refuses to call Dr. Tom, (Herbert Prior), who broke her heart years before. Pollyanna pleads to send for him but she refuses, bringing in another doctor. After several days, they discover Pollyanna is paralyzed from the waist down. Pollyanna becomes distraught; however Jimmy comforts her, insisting she play the Glad Game.
Months pass and Pollyanna begins to use a wheelchair. One evening with Aunt Polly, she pleads one last time for her to send for Dr. Tom and Aunt Polly finally relents. With the help of Dr. Tom, Pollyanna is eventually able to walk again.
With the success of her walking comes the realization of her wishes. Aunt Polly reunites romantically with Dr. Tom; and Jimmy is happily living with John. One day she asks for Jimmy and he comes to wheel her around the garden. He gives Pollyanna a ring and promptly runs off out of fear, not realizing Pollyanna is able to walk. She is excited at the ring and happily runs after him.
Pollyanna was shot in and has a copyright year of 1919 but was first released in 1920. It had a budget of $300,000 and grossed $1,1 million worldwide on its first theatrical run. It was extremely popular, becoming the role that defined Pickford’s ‘little girl’ movies. Pickford was 27 years old at the time of filming and portrayed a 12-year-old.
The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:
A complete print of Pollyanna is preserved at the Mary Pickford Institute for Film Education (The Pickford Corporation also owns the copyright).
Pollyanna was initially released on VHS in 1996. In 2007, it was released on DVD as part of a silent films collection titled The Golden Age of Silent Films, and later as part of the Mary Pickford Signature Collection in 2008. In 2010, Nostalgia Family Video also released the film on DVD.
As described in a film magazine, Rebecca Randall (Pickford) is taken into the home of her aunt Hannah (Eddy), a strict New England woman. Rebecca meets Adam Ladd (O’Brien), a young man of the village, and they become great friends. One day Rebecca promises to marry Adam when she becomes of age. Unable to withstand her pranks any longer, her aunt sends her away to a boarding school. She graduates a beautiful young lady. Shortly thereafter, Adam demands a fulfillment of her promise.
Like many American films of the time, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm was subject to cuts by city and state film censorship boards. The Chicago Board of Censors required a cut of the intertitle “I have just learned the Simpsons are not married.”
Gwendolyn is an 11-year-old girl who is left by her rich and busy parents to the care of unsympathetic domestic workers at the family’s mansion. Her mother is only interested in her social life and her father has a serious financial problem and is even contemplating suicide. When she manages to have some good time with an organ-grinder or a plumber, or have a mud-fight with street boys, she is rapidly brought back on the right track. One day she becomes sick because the maid has given her an extra dose of sleeping medicine to be able to go out. She then becomes delirious and starts seeing an imaginary world inspired by people and things around her; the Garden of Lonely Children in the Tell-Tale forest. Her conditions worsens and Death tries to lure her to eternal rest. But Life also appears to her and finally wins.