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Amarilly comes from a large family in a working-class neighborhood. She is happy with her family and her boyfriend Terry, a bartender in a cafe. But one day she meets Gordon, a sculptor who comes from a rich family, and she begins to be drawn into the world of the upper class. Written by
Tom Wilson's part was originally supposed to be played by Eric Campbell, who had played the "heavy" with Charles Chaplin the previous two years. Campbell was killed in an auto accident on December 28, 1917, a week prior to the start of this film's production. Wilson would play a uniformed policeman in Chaplin's The Kid (1921). See more »
Spunky little AMARILLY OF CLOTHES-LINE ALLEY has two suitors - her longtime bartender beau and a frivolous society boy. With whom would she be most happy?
This urban fairy tale, with romance, heartbreak & happiness all wrapped-up into a neat package, was exactly the sort of movie that Mary Pickford's legions of fans loved to see her in. America's Sweetheart was only too happy to oblige, constantly replaying the image of a resourceful little girl or adolescent at odds with a cruel world or snobbish society. This is no disparagement or faint praise. By expertly giving the public what it wanted, Pickford became the most powerful person in Hollywood.
Here, she has a fairly straightforward story line, without too many kinks in the plot. As always, Mary is imminently watchable. Whether dancing enthusiastically across a crowded floor, selling cigarettes to the `swells,' or reacting frantically to an accidental shooting, she never lets the viewer forget that the reason we watch a Pickford film is Pickford herself.
William Scott gives excellent support as Terry the bartender; the feelings he has for Mary are palpably real & true. Norman Kerry, full of boisterous high jinks, is fine as the society fellow who wishes to `better' her. Special mention should be made of jolly Kate Price as Pickford's mother, the very picture of an Irish washerwoman. Her round, jovial face bespeaks the goodness of her character's soul.
Pickford produced this film herself and she was ably abetted by screenwriter Frances Marion, her best friend and Marshall Neilan, her favorite director. Neilan had started his movie career as a romantic lead, but eventually moved behind the camera & Pickford considered him to be superior even to the legendary D. W. Griffith. Neilan's major failing were the frequent delays caused by his drinking, however he never failed in charming himself back into Pickford's good graces. This talented trio's collaborations continue to delight audiences today.
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