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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
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Mary Pickford, perhaps the biggest star of all time, stars in two roles in this funny and charming version of the classic novel about a New York City boy who becomes an English earl.
Although the 1936 talkie version is better remembered, Pickford is just wonderful as 12-year-old Cedric Errol and little boy in curls (get it?) who is transported to a world of huge castles and a grumpy old grandfather. Pickford also plays Cedric's mother (on 6-inch stilts) and is charming as the adult.
The trick photography (this is 1921, remember) is flawless and allows Pickford to play both parts in several scenes without even a hint of how they did it. Just amazing. Pickford often played dual roles in her films (Stella Maris, 1918) and it seems she could play just about any part.
The most beloved star of her era (or any era for that matter)--bigger than Fairbanks, Chaplin, or Swanson--Mary Pickford charmed audiences for more than 25 years in well over 250 films as the essence of joy, humor, and high spirits. and Little Lord Fauntleroy is one of her best! Claude Gillingwater is the old earl, Kate Bruce in the apple vendor, Rose Dione is the fake wife, and Joseph Dowling as Havisham.
The film was co-directed by Mary's brother, Jack Pickford.
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