6.9/10
476
12 user 5 critic

The Little American (1917)

A young American has her ship torpedoed by a German U-boat but makes it back to ancestral home in France, where she witnesses German brutality firsthand.

Directors:

(uncredited), (uncredited)

Writer:

(by)
Reviews

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Cheat (1915)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A venal, spoiled stockbroker's wife impulsively embezzles $10,000 from the charity she chairs and desperately turns to a Burmese ivory trader to replace the stolen money.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Fannie Ward, Sessue Hayakawa, Jack Dean
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Lady Mary Lasenby is a spoiled maiden who always gets her way until shipwrecked with her butler, then learns which qualities are really admirable in a person.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Thomas Meighan, Theodore Roberts, Raymond Hatton
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Leila Porter comes to dislike her husband James, a glue king who is always eating onions and looking sloppy. But after she divorces him and marries two-timing playboy Schuyler Van Sutphen the now-reformed James looks pretty good.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Elliott Dexter, Gloria Swanson, Lew Cody
Adventure | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A young girl travels west to live with her uncle during the California Gold Rush only to find that he has been killed by Indians and his identity assumed by an outlaw.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Mary Pickford, Elliott Dexter, Tully Marshall
Carmen I (1915)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

In order to help her smuggler kinsmen, a sultry gypsy seduces and corrupts an officer of the Civil Guard turning him into a traitor and murderer.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Geraldine Farrar, Wallace Reid, Pedro de Cordoba
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Little Sara Crewe is placed in a boarding school by her father when he goes off to war, but he does not understand that the headmistress is a cruel, spiteful woman who makes life miserable ... See full summary »

Director: Marshall Neilan
Stars: Mary Pickford, Norman Kerry, Katherine Griffith
Stella Maris (1918)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Stella Maris is a beautiful, crippled girl, who is cared for by a rich family. They shield her from the harsh realities of the world, so that she has no idea of the cruel things that some ... See full summary »

Director: Marshall Neilan
Stars: Mary Pickford, Ida Waterman, Herbert Standing
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Terje Vigen, a sailor, suffers the loss of his family through the cruelty of another man. Years later, when his enemy's family finds itself dependent on Terje's beneficence, Terje must ... See full summary »

Director: Victor Sjöström
Stars: Victor Sjöström, August Falck, Edith Erastoff
Queen Kelly (1929)
Certificate: Passed Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A convent girl is abducted and seduced by a prince before being sent off to a brothel in East Africa.

Directors: Erich von Stroheim, Richard Boleslawski, and 3 more credits »
Stars: Gloria Swanson, Walter Byron, Seena Owen
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

An Austrian officer sets out to seduce a neglected young wife.

Director: Erich von Stroheim
Stars: Sam De Grasse, Francelia Billington, Erich von Stroheim
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

With her family in financial difficulties, Rebecca is sent to live with her two strict, unfeeling aunts, who do not appreciate the young girl's charm and energy. Rebecca must make new ... See full summary »

Director: Marshall Neilan
Stars: Mary Pickford, Eugene O'Brien, Helen Jerome Eddy
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Wealthy Jervis Pendleton acts as benefactor for orphan Judy Abbott, anonymously sponsoring her in her boarding school. But as she grows up, he finds himself falling in love with her, and ... See full summary »

Director: Marshall Neilan
Stars: Mary Pickford, Milla Davenport, Percy Haswell
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Karl von Austreim
Raymond Hatton ...
Count Jules de Destin
Hobart Bosworth ...
German Colonel
Walter Long ...
German Captain
James Neill ...
Senator John Moore
...
Bobby Moore
Guy Oliver ...
Frederick von Austreim
Edythe Chapman ...
Mrs. von Austreim
Lillian Leighton ...
Angela's Great Aunt
DeWitt Jennings ...
English Barrister
Edit

Storyline

German-American Karl and French-American Jules are in love with Angela when each returns to his country as war breaks out. She sails for France and while there is nearly raped by Karl as the Germans invade. She is later arrested for sending secret messages to Jules but Karl defends her. Both are saved from execution by the arrival of the French forces and Count Jules Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The silent sufferers. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

12 July 1917 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Pequena Americana  »

Box Office

Budget:

$166,949 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Film debut of Ramon Novarro. See more »

Quotes

Angela Moore: I was neutral - till I saw your soldiers destroying women and shooting old men! Then I stopped being "neutral" and became a human being!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Mary Pickford: The Muse of the Movies (2008) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Effective & Often Compelling Wartime Melodrama
7 April 2005 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

In its own time, this effective and often compelling wartime melodrama used the talents of Mary Pickford and a young Cecil B. DeMille in support of the Allies in the first world war. It works well in itself, and it might be even more worthwhile now, for a generation that can view the events of that era more impartially, in order to draw some broader lessons from it.

Pickford plays Angela, "The Little American", a young woman courted by a German and a Frenchman who are both living in America. This familiar setup soon becomes much more serious when the war breaks out, and the two young men return to Europe and the battlefield, with Pickford's character soon joining them in the midst of the turmoil and terror of the conflict. The ensuing story occasionally has some points in common with the Valentino/Rex Ingram classic "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse", though with a generally more hopeful tone.

The first half has a particularly excellent sequence that depicts a submarine attacking a passenger liner. It works very well both dramatically and thematically. In particular, the light and motion of the sub's searchlight darting erratically through the darkness, so that its crew can survey the results of their attack, produces a chilling effect that is probably more effective than any amount of screaming could have been. The sequence works convincingly in portraying the barbarous, inhuman nature of attacks on civilian targets, and it also demonstrates the emptiness of the excuses used to justify them.

That is probably the strongest sequence, but the main story in the château also has some worthwhile material. The German soldiers are largely portrayed as subhuman, but this is balanced to a large degree by the character of Karl (Jack Holt) and his inner struggle between his sense of duty and his sense of justice. Holt and Pickford work well together, and Raymond Hatton, though not getting as much screen time, also makes good use of his opportunities.

With the delightful Pickford as the star, and DeMille already showing his ability to film set pieces effectively, this must have been very persuasive in its original purpose of strengthening support for the Allied cause. But now it can serve a different, and possibly more important, purpose. The harrowing experiences of Angela and the other characters are effective in demonstrating how quickly the fabric of human society can tear apart when military victory becomes all-important. While less ambitious and less well-known than the best-known of the classic movies that came out of the first world war, "The Little American" works well, and it is well worth the time to watch.


12 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss The Little American (1917) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?