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In the year 1550, Sir George Vernon agrees to have his young daughter Dorothy betrothed to John Manners, the son of the Earl of Rutland. Sir George signs a contract, promising that the marriage will take place on Dorothy's 18th birthday, or else he will have to pay a large penalty to Rutland. But when the two children have grown older, rumors of John's wild behavior in France provoke Sir George to call off the engagement, and to pledge his daughter instead to her cousin Malcolm. Rutland now claims the forfeit from Sir George, and meanwhile, John has befriended Mary Stuart, the sworn enemy of Elizabeth, who is now Queen of England. Written by
In Allan Forrest's opening scene, the broad bare shoulders seen as his wound is being dressed actually belong to Mary Pickford's husband Douglas Fairbanks, who was busy filming on the next-door set and was brought in as "body double" when Forrest's own physique was felt to be inadequate. See more »
This solid melodrama features Mary Pickford in an interesting, detailed period setting that makes pretty good use of the possibilities. While not one of Pickford's better-known movies, the role gave her a chance to use a good variety of her talents. Other than being a little overlong, it works well.
As "Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall", Pickford plays a spirited daughter of a prominent family in 16th century England, with a romantic tangle-up, a violent dispute between two nearby estates, and political intrigue all tied up together in an involved story.
The supporting cast gets a good number of opportunities, and in general they perform well enough. Anders Randolf plays Dorothy's father, and he gets some good moments. It's also somewhat interesting to see Lottie Pickford get a fair amount of screen time in this one, although much of the time her character does not get much to do, other than obeying the instructions that she is given.
The story takes several turns, and aside from a few slower spots that could have been tightened up a bit, it builds up nicely. In at least one video version, a couple of the later scenes seem to have gotten out of sequence, but the story-telling technique is good enough that you can figure things out as long as you were paying attention. It's pretty good overall.
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