|Index||3 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This film is part of a DVD set entitled "Treasures III"--a set of four
DVDs all about social issues and reform. The fourth disk (where you'll
find this one) is about ethnic issues in particular.
Perhaps few at the time saw any irony in the film's title, but calling the film "100% American" and having it star Canadian, Mary Pickford, seems rather funny. Many saw her as the ideal American but she was Canadian born and raised. No matter, she was "America's Sweetheart"--the #1 box office draw of the era.
The film is a propaganda piece that is trying to illustrate the importance of self-sacrifice in order to aid the war effort. At first in the film, Mary is frivolous and thinks nothing of wasting her money. However, at a bond rally she learns how important it is to economize and make sacrifice. The rest of the film is a preachy illustration of all the ways she can help the man overseas. In fact, by refusing to buy a soda, she is helping kill off the dreaded Hun!!
While all of this is pretty obvious, it's reasonably well done and has a cute segment about Mary losing her bond money as well as a weird final scene with Mary and the Kaiser! It's not the only pro-war effort film Ms. Pickford made (I've seen a couple others) and is clearly not intended as her finest moment on the screen but an overt push to get Americans to invest in bonds. It's successful in this sense but also far less satisfying than the typical feature-length film of the late 1910s or 1920s.
100 PERCENT American isn't a "real" movie - it's a war bond drive short
told in dramatic form so don't expect it to be as entertaining as a
bona fide Mary Pickford movie. It IS however quite charming and one of
the best done films of this nature, even up against later "talkie"
examples. Mary Pickford stars as a small town girl who while originally
flippant upon hearing of the necessities of saving money and investing
in war bonds, nevertheless denies herself luxuries like new dresses,
ice cream sundaes, and even trolley tickets to save for war bonds. Her
friend, however isn't quite so self-sacrificing.
There is quite a bit of light humor in this effective little piece of patriotism and it's biggest asset is Mary Pickford at perhaps the most beautiful I have ever seen her. Mary plays a young woman her own age, twenty-something, and she is absolutely a vision in lovely clothes, especially her first scene in a fetching outfit complete with cap. And I love one of the opening screen boards reading "Americans are extremists...what we earn in six days, we spend in two hours" suggesting at least some things never change even after almost 100 years.
100% American (1918)
*** (out of 4)
This here is another WW1 short trying to get American's to donate money but the big difference here is that the film uses Hollywood talent. Mary Pickford, Loretta Blake and Monte Blue lead the cast for this Famous-Players production. The film shows Pickford cutting back on spending habits so that she can give that money for war bonds instead. Instead of buying an ice cream she just settles for water. Instead of buying a new dress she simply wears an old one and so on. This film here uses a lot of humor to get its message across and this can be seen in Pickford's performance, which comes off very good and quite funny. The scene with her in the store lusting over the ice cream was incredibly funny but the ending to the film is pretty weak. The movie runs 14-minutes and is entertaining throughout, although the message is repeated one too many times.
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