An American who has lived much of his life outside the country returns to Arizona for the first time in years and encounters villainy.



(scenario editor), (story) (as Harold MacGrath)
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Complete credited cast:
Ruth Renick ...
Virginia Hale
Henry von Holkar
Paul Burns ...
Samuel Levinski
Morris Hughes ...
Patrick O'Flannigan
Ole Olsen
Yellow Horse
Lewis Hippe ...
First Mate
Betty Bouton ...
Mollie Warren
Adele Farrington ...
Mrs. Warren
Albert MacQuarrie ...
Driver of the Desert Yacht
Freddie Hawk ...
Girl Hobo


What's the difference between a primitive (such as Hopi Indians or Richard Marshall the Fifth's two-fisted pioneer ancestors) and a sophisticate (in this case Richard Marshall V, raised in Monte Carlo playing polo in spats and a monocle)? Richard meets up with some Americans abroad who can't believe he's an American too. He's invited to sail with them to Galveston and then head for Hopi land in Arizona. Little does Richard know that he's stumbled onto a diamond-smuggling operation, that one of the yachting party is in the secret service on the trail of Van Holkar, their host, and that soon all of Richard's instinctual mettle will be tested, mettle he didn't know he had. Written by <>

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Release Date:

13 June 1920 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Anyámasszony katonája  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


(color toned)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This was one of the few films in which Douglas Fairbanks did not perform most of his own stunts. Shortly after filming began, Fairbanks badly hurt his wrists while attempting a running mount of a horse when the animal got spooked and took off just as Fairbanks was jumping on her. Veteran stuntman Richard Talmadge, who had previously doubled for Fairbanks in other films for stunts that the studio deemed too dangerous for him to perform, was hired as Fairbanks' stunt double for most of the stunts in this film. See more »

Crazy Credits

"FOREWORD: Our thanks are gratefully expressed to government officials, tribal chiefs, and to the hundreds of picturesque Hopi Indians on their reservation near the Painted Desert of Arizona, who, in their savage way heartily welcomed us to their prehistoric villages and with primitive cheerfulness played an important part in this picture." See more »


Followed by The Saphead (1920) See more »

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User Reviews

Rousing Good Time
9 July 2005 | by See all my reviews

This is one of only two silent films directed by Victor Fleming and starring Douglas Fairbanks, but Fleming had worked as a cinematographer on many of Fairbanks's earlier comedies. The storyline here is similar to most of the other films Fairbanks made before switching to adventure swashbucklers with "The Mark of Zorro" (1920). "The Mollycoddle", however, is distinguished by polished film-making.

An introduction sets up Fairbanks's character's great Western heritage, only to find Fairbanks a mollycoddle--an expatriated dandy, who imagines Wall Street to be terrorized by cowboy gunfights. From there, Fairbanks must get back to his roots, defeat the bad guys and live happily ever after with the female lead. Fairbanks brought his usual boyish charm to the part and performed plenty of acrobatic stunts. Actually, I think, when done well, these modern comedies somewhat highlighted his talents better than did the later swashbucklers, as he's not overshadowed by a lavish production. Wallace Berry, a decade before his more prominent parts, played the role of the villain here and demonstrated that he was always a fine actor.

Surprisingly, an animation sequence reveals to us early in the film that Berry's character is secretly a jewel smuggler. It's no great feat in animation in itself, but its placement is remarkable for 1920. A rotating camera to represent Fairbanks's sickness in one scene, in addition to the apparent use of a small-scale model, transitioning between supposed establishing shots and closer looks, during the climax are other examples of the film-making ingenuity for this Fairbanks vehicle. It's interesting to see how much refinement in movie-making had occurred from, say, 1916 (when Fairbanks starred in "Flirting with Fate", among other films) to 1920. It was an exciting period of rapid development for the art. Another surprise in "The Mollycoddle" is the comparatively respectful depiction of the Hopi Indians; usually for a film made in 1920 (or for years afterward), the least one may reasonably hope for is to not have Caucasians playing Native-Americans. Overall, Fleming and crew did well to support Fairbanks in making a film permitting of a rousing good time.

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