Through the Back Door (1921)

 |  Comedy, Drama  |  5 May 1921 (USA)
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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.

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


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 All (17) »


Comedy | Drama





Release Date:

5 May 1921 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die kleine Mutter  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


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

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User Reviews

Pickford's great, but this movie? not so much
27 December 2006 | by (porltand, or) – See all my reviews

So the story of this film is preposterous at best, even for it's time. A girl meets a rich guy who talks her into leaving her baby in another country for like a decade or so, then decides she wants her back but the woman she left her with pretends she's dead, then she goes to America and for some reason doesn't tell her mom but instead goes to work for her, entangling her in some scam against playboy step-dad and oh-yeah, she meets a totally not-so-charming man who she falls for because he helps her up when falls face first in the mud. and she's got a duck and two orphan children as pets. did i miss anything? I really can'tsay anything for the story of this movie, but when she's aloud run amok, Pickford is as as great as ever, I just Barely recommend this movie for those moments. everyone knows the famous scrub brush-skating scenes. but i'll list a few more for good measure.

1. the sequence in which she impresses an old man by fishing a massive sturgeon from a puddle, turns out it was her family's dinner for the evening and when the maid finds it missing she nearly kills the cat.

2. She cleans her dirty feet off by laying on her back on a table and rubbing them on a towel on the wall as if she was walking up the wall.

3. Mary's character is elated at having smuggled a duck into the US raising it triumphantly over her head and marching away like victorious general.

4. Falling in the mud she tries to clean herself off and only winds up leaving two suggestive hand prints over her breasts. When a cute rich boy arrives to see if she's all right, in embarrassment she tries to cover it up by grabbing herself suggestively, actually doing with hands what the mud hand prints suggested. (probably really racy for the day.) 5. the suitor asks of the Bellina orphans she's picked up along a road after their mother died: "Are the children really yours?" she says "Yes. I found them." she says. To which he makes a face to suggest. "oh, good enough for me." so yeah, I wrote a lot about a movie I'm not that into, but those moments and a few others make the film worthwhile. Mary Pickford is a giant supernova of charm and a fantastic performer, she outshines her directors unfortunately.

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