Pickpockets 'Stoop' Connors and Mary Stevens often work together, but they are now having a falling out over a job that Connors had planned for the evening. Meanwhile, socialite Adele Hoyt breaks off her engagement with Kent Mortimer, who has lost the fortune that interested her in him. Then, as Adele is going out for the evening, her pearl necklace falls to the ground. Mary, standing nearby, quickly grabs it and runs off. As she is being pursued by police and others, Mary slips inside Kent's home to hide. As she then talks to Kent and learns of the patient way that he is dealing with his misfortunes, a change comes over Mary. She is now determined to make an honest living, and she and Kent become close. But 'Stoop' refuses to let her leave her old way of life, and he also insists on having the stolen pearls for himself. Written by
Having seen "Outside the Law", the second Browning-Chaney-Dean feature, I can say "The Wicked Darling" feels almost like a prelude to that film. When you watch this film it looks like some of the sets were used in "Outside the Law". Browning seems to want to finish in "Outside the Law" what he started in this film. There's even a gruesome fight scene (two in fact) with Chaney & the hero here(Wellington Playter) as there would be between Chaney & Wheeler Oakman in "Outside the Law". Priscilla Dean is one of the best actresses of the silent era & I look forward to checking out her other silent films like Browning's "The Virgin of Stamboul" (unfortunately minus Chaney). The version of this film comes from the remaining 35mm print in the Nederlands Filmmuseum and it has tremendous beginning stages of nitrate decomposition. Fortunately this film was rescued in the knick of time. Dean's character at the opening of the film comes off as a thief in cahoots with Chaney but its insinuated that she also moonlights as a prostitute with Chaney her pimp. Browning seemingly sets up the viewers imagination on Dean's activity while early in the film showing Gertrude Astor as a 'kept woman' for Wellington Playter. Astor leaves Playter after he goes broke. With good chunks of the film lost and this being an abridged foreign release anyway, more imagination is still left to the viewer. But Browning's customary last act of redemption for the crooked Priscilla Dean is identical in Outside the Law.
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