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Young Cedric Errol lives with his widowed mother in New York City. Cedric's late father was a son of the Earl of Dorincourt, but the Earl had objected strongly to his son's marriage, and thus has long been estranged from Cedric and his mother. But when the Earl's only surviving son dies in a riding accident, Cedric suddenly becomes Lord Fauntleroy, the Earl's heir. Cedric and his mother travel to England, where they must overcome the Earl's hard feelings about the past, as well as some unexpected obstacles. Written by
In scene in which Little Lord Fauntleroy meets Dearest (both parts being played by Mary Pickford) the kiss-on-the-cheek cut took 15 hours to film and lasts 3 seconds on-screen due to the complexity of the multiple exposures. To ensure stability between takes, the camera used by cinematographer Charles Rosher was weighted down to the tune of close to a ton. See more »
Enjoyable Old-Fashioned Story Plus Pickford's Irresistible Charm
Just in itself, this is an entertaining version of the old-fashioned story of "Little Lord Fauntleroy", with good characterizations, settings, and story-telling. But what makes it particularly enjoyable is Mary Pickford's irresistible charm in a double role as young Cedric and as his mother.
Pickford's performance as the mother 'Dearest' is flawless, as she portrays her with elegance and grace, practically the image of the character that you get from the story. As Cedric, Pickford certainly gives the character a new look. There's nothing in the least to criticize about her performance, yet it's impossible not to be reminded of Pollyanna, Rebecca, or Pickford's other young girl roles. Even when she gives her character a rough-and-tumble look (at which she is very good), she is just too feminine and too attractive for it not to be noticeable. Yet her charm and buoyant energy make Cedric a thoroughly engaging character, if somewhat different from his literary image.
The rest of the production deserves plenty of credit as well. Several of the supporting characters are especially good. Claude Gillingwater strikes just the right note as the old Earl, and there is a trio of pleasant characters from Cedric's old neighborhood, who just have to come on screen to be good for a smile. The settings and photography are nicely done, never ostentatious but always providing an effective backdrop for the characters and story. Perhaps most impressive of all is the special effects wizardry that makes Pickford's dual performance work so well, frequently putting her two characters together without the slightest snag.
This is the kind of old-fashioned story that Pickford makes almost effortless, yet it's not hard to see a good number of strengths, both in her own performance and in the rest of the movie.
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