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The Poor Little Rich Girl (1917) More at IMDbPro »

The Poor Little Rich Girl -- Gwen's family is rich, but her parents ignore her and most of the servants push her around, so she is lonely and unhappy...


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Eleanor Gates (play)
Frances Marion (scenario)
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Release Date:
5 March 1917 (USA) See more »
Gwen's family is rich, but her parents ignore her and most of the servants push her around, so she is lonely and unhappy... See more » | Add synopsis »
1 win See more »
User Reviews:
No Time For Little Mary See more (14 total) »


  (in credits order)

Mary Pickford ... Gwendolyn 'Gwen'
Madlaine Traverse ... Gwendolyn's Mother
Charles Wellesley ... Gwendolyn's Father
Gladys Fairbanks ... Jane
Frank McGlynn Sr. ... The Plumber
Emile La Croix ... The Organ Grinder
Marcia Harris ... Miss Royale
Charles Craig ... Thomas
Frank Andrews ... Potter
Herbert Prior ... The Doctor
George Gernon ... Johnny Blake
Maxine Elliott Hicks ... Susie May Squoggs (as Maxine Hicks)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Nora Cecil ... One of Gwendolyn's Teachers (uncredited)

Directed by
Maurice Tourneur 
Writing credits
Eleanor Gates (play "Poor Little Rich Girl")

Frances Marion (scenario)

Produced by
Adolph Zukor .... producer
Cinematography by
Lucien N. Andriot  (as Lucien Andriot)
John van den Broek  (as John v.d. Broek)
Production Design by
Ben Carré 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Mason N. Litson .... assistant director (as M.N. Litson)

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
65 min | USA:78 min (TCM print) | 78 min (TCM print)
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

This film was selected to the National Film Registry, Library of Congress, in 1991.See more »
Title card:The poor little rich girl's mother, whose social duties seem of more importance than the happiness of her child.See more »
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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful.
No Time For Little Mary, 10 November 2010
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York

If you had to pick a typical Mary Pickford film to understand her appeal in silent movies you should look no further than The Poor Little Rich Girl. In this the 24 Mary with the curls that audiences the world over loved, plays an 11-12 year old girl, neglected by her status conscious parents.

Not that the idea was anything new, but Mary does put it over quite well. Her parents Madlaine Traverse are caught up in their busy societal world and pretty much ignore their child. But when she accidentally overdoses on some medicine and hovers between life and death her parents wake up and smell the coffee.

One thing I found absolutely fascinating was that apparently as a punishment for misbehavior one was forced to wear the clothes of the opposite sex. That certainly raises some interesting questions about gender identity in American society in 1917. Mary is forced to wear boys clothes and when she goes out and meets a gang of street kids, she's questioned about her masculinity and really lashes out at her tormentors.

What makes the film really standout though for me is the fantasy world that director Maurice Tourneur created as Mary is in a coma fighting for her life. Given the times the special effects cinematography was wonderful for its time. Cecil B. DeMille couldn't have done better creating a view of how a child saw the world around her and the possible paradise she could have if she quit fighting for her own life.

Great special effects and a standout performance by Mary Pickford make The Poor Little Rich Girl a classic from the days when movies had no voice.

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