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Helen Jerome Eddy
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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 film, released one year after the end of World War I, is proceeded by two short public service advertisements featuring Mary Pickford playing a schoolgirl. In the first she is writing on a school chalkboard that reads, in cursive, "Be an American help Uncle Sam pay for the War. The fighting is over but the paying aint." Someone offscreen is talking to her. She then adds the word "not" at the end. Then, after some additional prompting erases aint and adds "is". In the second public service announcement, she is again at the blackboard, writing in print "Buy WAR SAVINGS STAMP". Again, someone off camera prompts her and she adds a small "s" at the end. Then smiles and curtseys. See more »
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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