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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:
America's Sweetheart See more (12 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:Empty hearts. Empty lives. Empty homes. Poor little rich girl.See more »
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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful.
America's Sweetheart, 2 April 2005
Author: Cineanalyst

In addition to typecasting Mary Pickford as playing child characters, this role established her as America's Sweetheart. The 24-year-old Pickford plays an 11-year-old rich girl, who's neglected by her parents and is raised by nasty housekeepers and several personal schoolmarms. The only playmate she's allowed is a bore. Of course, every viewer sympathizes with the character's predicament, and Pickford gets the most out of that. The mud fight and tantrum scenes add some amusement between the more gushy moments and the great dream sequence.

Much of the credit here also needs to go to the screenwriter Frances Marion. Besides being a woman in a male-dominated business, she was one of the first scenarists to have creative control over productions. Like another female screenwriter, Anita Loos, Marion helped introduce the role of intertitles in silent film (as opposed to the tableau style of title cards only to introduce scenes). Both women also sometimes demonstrated their authorship with self-referential winks; Marion's "Armarilly of Clothes-Line Alley" and Loos's "Wild and Woolly" are two examples--where the authors expose their constructions with one intertitle.

Pickford does well to overcome the weirdness of an adult playing the role of a child. Moreover, the setting of a mansion, in addition to large props and tall actors accentuate Pickford's natural smallness, but more needed to be done about her adult figure. Director Maurice Tourneur and the film-making crew add appropriate, non-intrusive style to this sweet photoplay, providing Pickford with the most important vehicle of her career.

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