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Lydia Yeamans Titus,
Susie, a plain young country girl, secretly loves a neighbor boy, William. She believes in him and sacrifices much of her own happiness to promote his own ambitions, all without his knowledge. Eventually he rises to a position of success and sophistication, and Susie realizes that she has through her own efforts raised him to a level where he is inaccessible to her. Written by
Jim Beaver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Just Plain Susie versus The Paint and Powder Brigade
Charming and sentimental soap opera introduced as "The Story of a Plain Girl". Well, Susie (the so-called "plain girl", played by Lillian Gish) and William (Robert Harron) are two country teens who seem to be best pals having a small little romance as she walks home from school with him and he carves their initials on a tree - seems sweet, right? But then again, she pretty much trails behind him as they walk (like his shadow) and he pretty much pulls away as they start to kiss (bashful or just not interested - it's hard to tell). He dreams of going to college, she secretly sells her cow and other goods (after all, she "must" marry a smart man) and sends him the money under the guise that it is from a "philanthropist" they previously met in town. He comes back grown-up, with mustache - she secretly writes of plans to marry him in her diary and keeps it a secret about who his real benefactor was. But - enter one flirty Bettina: she believes in paint, powder, tight skirts, and silk stockings. Young William, now ready for marriage, unbelievably asks surprised Bettina to become his wife. Oh dear, poor Susie. But it doesn't exactly work out the way he hopes!
This is a really sweet and entertaining film - I like it a bunch. Lillian Gish is quite a bit too pretty to really seem realistic as "plain", but they manage to braid and slick down her hair in the earlier scenes, and with her shuffling along and the like, it almost works - and she's great in the part, of course. The character of Bettina is not really in the vein of "evil vamp" or anything like that
she's really just an immature young girl who likes to party and flirt
and just isn't ready to settle down with a house and husband yet. Clarine Seymour, who plays Bettina, is really excellent in this film - she completely brings her character to life and even manages to make what appears to be a man-stealing home-wrecker into a sympathetic character. It is hard to forget while watching this film, the early deaths of two of the stars here, Harron and Seymour, in only a year's time. The art direction and camera-work nicely captures the rural setting and youthful faces of the stars. The Kino DVD of this film features a clear, tinted print that looks great - the music is a nicely done score by the Mont Alto orchestra featuring contemporary tunes, which completely suits this film. An emotional, absorbing, and at all times enjoyable silent film.
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