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Prairie Version of Madame Butterfly with a brunette Mary Pickford

8/10
Author: HarlowMGM from United States
26 March 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

IOLA'S PROMISE is a Griffith two-reeler that is a western romance undoubtedly inspired by MADAME BUTTERFLY. Mary Pickford stars as an Indian princess who is kidnapped by cutthroats. Screaming as one of them tries to have his way with her, Iola's cries are heard by gold prospector Alfred Paget, who rescues her (basically he just shows up and the other guy runs away!!), takes her to his cabin, and feeds her. Iola, initially frightened by Paget, falls in love with him immediately (this is a two-reeler, folks) but the kindly "white man" has a sweetie already and sends her back to her tribe. Paget quizzes Iola if she has ever found any gold nuggets in the area and she says no but promises to give any she finds to him. Shortly after Iola returns to her tribe, the tribe learn of a wagon train in the area. While Iola is away searching for the "yellow nuggets", the Indians attack the wagon train and take some of the members hostage, including Dorothy Bernard, who happens to be Paget's fiancée. When Iola returns to the tribe she is horrified to find the "cross heart" people tied to a tree presumably soon to be killed. Iola decides to loosen their ropes and take the Dorothy's hat and coat and run wearing them so the tribe will think one of the whites is getting away. The tribesmen all run after Iola and when they are gone, the Dorothy and the white man run free. Iola is shot and is left to die, when stumbling she happens upon a gold nugget. Paget happens upon her as she is dying and she gives him the gold piece, keeping her promise.

This little melodrama isn't much but Mary Pickford gives it her all and is moving as the little Indian princess. Alfred Paget, one of the less remembered Griffith regular players, is quite good as the handsome young prospector. Future stars Robert Harron and Antonio Moreno have bits but they are difficult to spot (cast as a white settler and an Indian respectively) but character actress Kate Price is easily spotted as the Indian matron.

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Indian Giver

2/10
Author: wes-connors from Earth
18 December 2007

In the U.S. Southwestern desert, Indian maiden Mary Pickford (as Iola) is trapped by scum combing cut-throats. They fight over who is to have his way with Ms. Pickford. Along comes Yankee prospector Alfred Paget, who rescues Pickford, and takes her to his cabin. Thinking Mr. Paget is like all white men, she expects to be raped; instead, she is given food; and, so, she falls in love with her savior. But, Paget has a sweetheart (Dorothy Bernard), who sends a letter announcing her arrival. Paget goes out prospecting, and Pickford follows. He shows her a gold stone, and she promises to let him know if she should happen upon one. Pickford returns to her own, savage people; but, she remembers her promise.

Pickford goes unbelievably overboard in her gratitude, later in the film. It's also possible that her "cross your heart" gesture, when she makes her promise, is meant to be a religious experience. This D.W. Griffith effort is rather more insulting than exciting. The extras are an illustrious lot.

** Iola's Promise (3/14/12) D.W. Griffith ~ Mary Pickford, Alfred Paget, Dorothy Bernard

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