A spoiled young rich girl is forced by misfortune to fight for survival in the slums and alleys, where she becomes involved with all manner of unpleasantness. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
THE HOODLUM is perhaps one of Mary Pickford's lesser known silent films, but it's a total delight. And she does not play "little Mary," in this one, but plays an older version of her famous and beloved character.
We first see Pickford as Amy Burke, a rich little terror who throws hysterical fits when she can't have her way. She's maybe 16-ish, in school, but she drives a car (a "white racer"). Her grandfather (Ralph Lewis) is planning a trip to Europe but she pitches a fit for some reason and decides to go live with her father on Craigen Street in New York City while he finishes up his sociological study for his book. Snooty Amy has a major culture shock as she adjusts to life in the slums.
So Pickford becomes one of the "gang," learns to fit in, and also learns through a neighbor (Kenneth Harlan) that her grandfather framed him and sent him to jail. Of course all wrongs are righted by the end of the film.
Pickford is hilarious as she shoots craps with loaded dice, runs from the police, dances a wild tango in an alley, and eventually settles the score between the wronged man (whom she marries) and her grandfather.
The film is great looking with a terrific "Craigen Street" set that includes tenement hallways and stairs, fire escapes, and alleys. The film is briskly directed by Sidney Franklin and boasts some beautiful title cards by Ferdinand Pinney Earle, who was the major title card artist of his time, and whose art sometimes resembles that of Edward Hopper.
But Mary Pickford is center stage here whether she's trashing her mansion bedroom, driving wildly down country roads, or dancing in an alley. Aggie Herring, Melvin Messinger, and Max Davidson (as Isaacs) co-star.
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