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The silent film the Pride of the Clan starring Mary Pickford was supposed to be set in a fictional island off the coast of Scotland. In actuality, most of the exterior shots were filmed in Marblehead Massachusett on Marblehead Neck near several rocky seaside geographic areas including the Churn and Castle Rock. My initial interest in the film was because of two factors: 1) the Marblehead film location in my hometown and, 2) the fact that my grandmother Lizzette M. Woodfin was hired as a stand-in for Mary Pickford during filming of several scenes including the "cliff scene". Both women were small (5') in stature and both my father and grandmother related the fact that she was a stand-in with her back to the camera for the cliff scene as part of the Chiefton filming set. I just wanted to relate this story for future film historians and buffs. The film itself (my DVD copy is somewhat poor) is very well done with lots of action and expressive acting including several scenes where Miss Pickford portrays a strong woman characterization. I enjoyed it and would love to get a better copy of it although I am unsure whether one exists as I have seen in various movie sites that remaining copies are dark because of deterioration. A very nice film of the silent genre with lots of action!
This is a good movie for such a little-remembered feature. In itself, its
main strength is probably the interesting setting on an island off the coast
of Scotland. The setting is used throughout the movie, both as a background
setting and in the story itself. There are some interesting sights and
views, although (due to the fact that the surviving print is so dark) it's
hard to tell just how good it may have looked originally - but that's hardly
the fault of those who made the original film.
The story is similar in nature to many of Mary Pickford's later, better-known features, in that it looks at the ways that relationships are affected by considerations such as wealth, social status, change, and the like. After the opening sequence, much of the first part is episodic, but pleasant. The main part of the story comes later, when Pickford and Matt Moore, as sweethearts, must face some unexpected developments together.
As one of Pickford's earliest full-length features, it's also interesting to see her growing into the style that soon made her a great star. Later on, she could do even more with this kind of role, but she already knew how to hold the attention of the audience and to make the viewers sympathetic to her character. There are even some scenes - such as the opening scene in which she prepares dinner while waiting for her father, or her scenes with the cynical Pitcairn, or her discussions with Moore's family - that parallel similar scenes in her later movies. Later on, she would be able to make scenes like these unforgettable, but even here she is already much better than most, which makes this little-known movie worth tracking down to see.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I have just read that this beautifully and skillfully filmed movie is now being restored. The dark and faded print I have viewed, absolutely does not give justice to the film, as it would have looked when first shown in 1917. Mary Pickford was never the most reliable judge of her own movies, and she dismissed this film as a failure. It is anything but, as reviews at the time were favourable, noting the outstanding artistic atmosphere, that permeates throughout the entire film. Maurice Tourneur and his crew, brought a striking sense of composition and lighting to this picture, that was clearly 10 years ahead of its time. The films screenplay has plenty of action and allows Mary Pickford to completely demonstrate her unique versatility as the feisty and courageous Scottish girl. Perhaps Mary's feelings about this film were influenced by the memory of an incident that occurred during the production of the "Pride Of The Clan" that could of cost her, her life. At the climax of the film, Mary is in a sinking boat. As the others in the cast were already lowered into a dingy, Mary recalls in her autobiography, she remembered she had left her makeup kit in the cabin and went back for it. She writes: The odd thing about it is that no one noticed me heading back into the boat... Midway to the cabin a voice stopped me. I heard it say very clearly, "Don't you go there!" I rushed back just as Mr.Tourneur was about to step over the edge. We were now in water up to our knees. Startled to find me still aboard, he grasped my hand and helped me into the lifeboat. When this enjoyable and fascinating Mary Pickford film is restored and released, I will definitely watch it again and encourage others to take a look.
are highlights of this 1917 feature. The Pride of the Clan tells the story of a young girl who becomes clan chieftain after her father dies. On an island off the coast of Scotland, the villagers live the simple lives of "fisher folk." My copy is very dark and sometimes hard to read, but the film boasts some stunning ocean scenery, and the camera work on boats is splendid. Maurice Tourneur directed Pickford in this pleasant film. Pickford was already a major star in 1917, and this film seems to have been written just for her: plucky young woman succeeds over misfortune. Pickford whip lashing lazy villagers toward church is very funny. And the final scenes on the sinking ship are very well done. Not a great Picford film, but still worth seeing. Matt Moore (Pickford was married to his brother, Owen Moore) is the love interest, and is good as the strapping island lad. Leatrice Joy is one of the villagers but I couldn't spot her either. My copy intersperses lots of bells and gongs and adds an eerie feeling when the village warning bells are rung. Very effective.
Star Pickford and director Tourneur -- along with his two favorite
cameramen and assistant Clarence Brown doing the editing -- bring great
beauty and intelligence to this story of poor, isolated Scottish
Islanders -- the same territory that Michael Powell would stake twenty
years later for his first great success. Visions of wind and wave,
sunbacked silhouettes of lovers do not merely complement the story,
they are the story of struggle against hardship.
The actors bring the dignity of proud people to their roles and Pickford is brilliant as her character struggles with her duties as head of the clan, wavering between comedy and thoughtfulness, here with her father's bullwhip lashing wayward islanders to church, there seated with her guest's walking stick in her hand like a scepter, discussing her lover, played by Matt Moore.
See if you can pick out future star Leatrice Joy in the ensemble. I tried, but failed.
After Mary Pickford (as Marget MacTavish) loses her father at sea, she
becomes "The Pride of the Clan"; this makes Ms. Pickford the leader of
her Scottish island community. For most young women, the responsibility
would prove too daunting; but, the spunky Pickford perseveres. She
whips the town into shape. Pickford finds romance with Matt Moore (as
Jamie Campbell); but, a secret from his past threatens their future.
This was the lesser of the collaborations between Pickford and director Maurice Tourneur. The perpetually stormy coastline photography is a strength, with Marblehead, Massachusetts doubling for Scotland. John van den Broek and Lucien N. Andriot handled the camera. Despite the promising storyline, Pickford's role as leader of her community disappoints. She appears to be a divine link between the people and God. When the Church needs parishioners, Pickford runs around town cracking her father's whip, which frightens worshipers into their pews.
***** The Pride of the Clan (1/7/17) Maurice Tourneur ~ Mary Pickford, Matt Moore, Warren Cook
Mary Pickford becomes the chieftain of a Scottish clan after the death of her father, and then has a romance. As fellow commenter Snow Leopard said, the film is rather episodic to begin. Some of it is amusing, such as Pickford whipping her clansmen to church, while some of it is just there. All in all, the story is weak, especially the recycled, contrived romance plot-line and its climax. The video I saw is so dark it's difficult to appreciate the scenery, but even accounting for that, this doesn't appear to be director Maurice Tourneur's best work. Pickford and Tourneur collaborated once more in the somewhat more accessible "The Poor Little Rich Girl", typecasting Pickford in childhood roles.
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