MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 58,537 this week

Through the Back Door (1921)

 -  Comedy | Drama  -  5 May 1921 (USA)
7.0
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.0/10 from 107 users  
Reviews: 8 user | 1 critic

When her mother remarries, a young Belgian girl is left behind with her nurse, but when Germany invades the country, she is sent to America to find her mother.

0Check in
0Share...

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 7566 titles
created 13 Aug 2011
 
a list of 1729 titles
created 22 Aug 2011
 
a list of 101 titles
created 10 Feb 2013
 
a list of 545 titles
created 10 months ago
 
a list of 537 titles
created 6 months ago
 

Related Items


Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Through the Back Door (1921)

Through the Back Door (1921) on IMDb 7/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Through the Back Door.

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Cinderella (1914)
Fantasy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Based on the fairy tale: Cinderella is mistreated by her stepmother and stepsisters, but is able to go to the royal ball through the help of the Fairy Godmother.

Director: James Kirkwood
Stars: Mary Pickford, Owen Moore, Isabel Vernon
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Angela maintains a coastal lighthouse in Italy, where she awaits the return of her brothers from the war. She learns they are casualties and takes solace in the arms of an American sailor ... See full summary »

Director: Frances Marion
Stars: Mary Pickford, Evelyn Dumo, Raymond Bloomer
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A young girl, stifling on her father's backwoods farm, is reinvigorated by the arrival of an army regiment, come to train in the area.

Director: William Desmond Taylor
Stars: Mary Pickford, Anne Schaefer, Fred Huntley
Coquette (1929)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A flirtatious southern belle is compromised with one of her beaus.

Director: Sam Taylor
Stars: Mary Pickford, Johnny Mack Brown, Matt Moore
Drama | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A tough slum girl faces a crisis of the heart when the boy she loves is accused of shooting her cop father. Her brother stalks the accused slayer and finally shoots him down in the street. ... See full summary »

Director: William Beaudine
Stars: Mary Pickford, William Haines, Walter James
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Little Sara Crewe is placed in a boarding school by her father when he goes off to war, but he does not understand that the headmistress is a cruel, spiteful woman who makes life miserable ... See full summary »

Director: Marshall Neilan
Stars: Mary Pickford, Norman Kerry, Katherine Griffith
Rosita (1923)
Romance | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Directors: Ernst Lubitsch, Raoul Walsh
Stars: Mary Pickford, Holbrook Blinn, Irene Rich
The Hoodlum (1919)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A spoiled young rich girl is forced by misfortune to fight for survival in the slums and alleys, where she becomes involved with all manner of unpleasantness.

Director: Sidney Franklin
Stars: Mary Pickford, Ralph Lewis, Kenneth Harlan
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A little girl is kidnapped by the Mafia in revenge for her father's help in capturing one of the mobsters. She is presumed dead, but in reality is spirited away to Italy, where she is ... See full summary »

Director: Sidney Olcott
Stars: Mary Pickford, Eugene O'Brien, Antonio Maiori
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  

An old man wills a map to his grandson, with instructions showing a buried treasure, but it is accidentally sold to a book store. The owner and her granddaughter Mary discover it. Mary and ... See full summary »

Director: William Desmond Taylor
Stars: Mary Pickford, Douglas MacLean, Spottiswoode Aitken
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
...
Jeanne
Gertrude Astor ...
Louise Reeves
Wilfred Lucas ...
Elton Reeves
Helen Raymond ...
Marie
C. Norman Hammond ...
Jacques Lanvain
...
Margaret Brewster
...
James Brewster
Peaches Jackson ...
Conrad
Doreen Turner ...
Constant
John Harron ...
Billy Boy
George Dromgold ...
Chauffeur
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jeanne Carpenter ...
Jeanne (age 5)
Walter Wilkinson
Edit

Storyline

In Belgium in 1903, widowed Madame Bodamere is remarried to a rich American, who insists that she leave her young daughter Jeanne behind with the child's nurse Marie. Several years later, the mother comes back to reclaim her child, but Marie, not wanting to give up Jeanne, tells the mother that the child is dead. When Belgium is invaded in 1914, Marie fears for Jeanne's safety and sends her, now a teenager, to America along with a letter to Jeanne's mother confessing Marie's deception. On the trip, Jeanne picks up two young Belgian orphans and takes them with her. Jeanne finds her mother living on a large estate, and is repeatedly denied the chance to explain who she is. She ends up taking a job as a maid in her mother's mansion, and claiming the two orphans as her own. Meanwhile, her mother grows increasingly despondent, and her marriage soon stands on shaky ground. Written by Snow Leopard

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

orphan | nurse | belgium | maid | letter | See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

5 May 1921 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die kleine Mutter  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Connections

Featured in Mary Pickford: A Life on Film (1997) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Good comedy sequences boost this silent feature
24 January 2007 | by (Westchester County, NY) – See all my reviews

When this comedy-drama was made Mary Pickford was at the height of her fame. Like all of the films she produced and appeared in during her peak years (roughly 1917-1927) Through the Back Door was painstakingly crafted: the sets, cinematography, lighting, etc., are all state-of-the-art for the time. Pickford always chose the best supporting players in the business, and never failed to deliver an energetic and charming performance herself. Even the title cards in her movies were carefully composed and often witty, though sometimes a little puzzling; I must admit I was thrown by the introductory title to this film that declared it a "story of mother-love," an assertion that isn't exactly borne out by what follows. In any case, and although it doesn't rank with her best work, Through the Back Door could nonetheless serve as a decent introduction to Mary Pickford for viewers who have never seen her. Beyond its entertainment value, the film also offers several of Pickford's favorite recurring motifs, to wit: 1) regardless of her actual age, the star plays a preteen girl in her opening scenes and a teenager thereafter; 2) she's in search of a mother figure; 3) despite her youth, Mary's character Jeanne also acts as a surrogate mother for younger children who have been abandoned by others; 4) she encounters class prejudice, and is made to feel inferior because of her upbringing; 5) in the end, Jeanne proves that good character wins out over wealth and social position, and in doing so, gains those privileges.

As the story begins Jeanne's widowed mother Louise plans to remarry, but her selfish fiancé, jealous of the attention the girl receives, insists that the child must be raised on a farm in her native Belgium while he and his new wife live in luxury in America. Five years pass, and Jeanne now regards her nurse Marie as her mother, just as Marie regards Jeanne as her own child. When Louise belatedly returns to claim her daughter Marie falsely claims that the girl has died, so the heartbroken woman returns home. At the outbreak of the Great War in 1914 Jeanne is sent to America, carrying a letter signed by Marie in which she confesses her lie, but circumstances prevent Jeanne from handing over the letter and identifying herself. She winds up working in her mother's household as a maid, until at last she is able to reveal the truth.

As the synopsis may indicate, there are aspects of the story that challenge credibility. Even if we accept that Louise is willing to give up her daughter in order to remarry, why would she wait five years before going to see her? Would she believe the nurse's story of her daughter's death with no further confirmation? How is this "a story of mother-love"? Louise's actions don't seem plausible, but the greatest strain to our credulity comes in the second half, when Jeanne arrives in America (with two orphaned boys in tow) and is inexplicably reluctant to reveal her identity to her mother or anyone else. We're given to understand that she's embarrassed about her low station in life as a war refugee raised on a farm, afraid her mother might be ashamed of her, but even so we're bewildered as she passes up one opportunity after another to identify herself. I believe this plot device would have worked better if Jeanne's motivation for keeping her identity a secret had been stronger, or at least explained more fully; as it is, we watch in frustration and wonder what's the matter with the girl.

On the plus side, however, the filmmakers made a special point of lightening the atmosphere with several bright comedy sequences, especially in the film's first half. In the best known bit Jeanne scrubs a floor by putting thick brushes on her feet, and skating around the room through the suds. Here Pickford suggests Chaplin in The Rink, not only in her grace but in her comically panic-stricken near-falls. A little later Jeanne has a run-in with an ornery mule in a scene which, strictly speaking, is irrelevant to the plot, but nevertheless welcome as comic relief. The film's second half would have benefited from more humor along these lines; instead, the story turns conventional as Jeanne helps thwart a scheme to defraud her step-father. This secondary plot is played straight, and must have felt overly familiar to viewers even in 1921.

All told, Through the Back Door is a well-made, entertaining movie with a number of pleasing elements and a winning performance by the star. If the screenwriters had fully worked out the lead character's actions and not fallen back on formula in the second half, this might have ranked with Mary Pickford's most memorable works. Even so, second-tier Pickford is still expertly crafted silent cinema.


4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss Through the Back Door (1921) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?