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Mabel Kelly ...
Sonny Jim's Mother
Tefft Johnson ...
Sonny Jim's Father
Ada Utley ...
Lily
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Short | Comedy

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10 April 1914 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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The Innocence of Youth
10 May 2012 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

Bobby Connolly was a child actor for Vitagraph in 1914 and 1915, starring in several kiddie comedies, then continued with other roles until his untimely death at age thirteen. In this one, he befriends Ada Utley, a small Black girl who is the daughter of the family's laundress. He invites her to join the family in their pew at Easter, raising several issues.

This gentle jab at racism is nicely handled, even if the surviving copy of the film is battered and misses the final part of the story. It can be viewed at the National Film Preservation site.

Connolly is a real charmer and very naturalistic in his scenes. Miss Utley is not called on to do much, mostly to draw away shyly -- her character knows what may happen if she forgets her place. The interesting point to the modern viewer will be the casual assumptions of the era, the manner in which people behave nicely and naturally. The clear implication is that a small child would not even be aware of these matters.


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