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The Little American (1917)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance, War | 12 July 1917 (USA)
A young American has her ship torpedoed by a German U-boat but makes it back to ancestral home in France, where she witnesses German brutality firsthand.


Cecil B. DeMille (uncredited), Joseph Levering (uncredited)


Jeanie Macpherson (by)




Complete credited cast:
Mary Pickford ... Angela Moore
Jack Holt ... Karl von Austreim
Raymond Hatton ... Count Jules de Destin
Hobart Bosworth ... German Colonel
Walter Long ... German Captain
James Neill ... Senator John Moore
Ben Alexander ... Bobby Moore
Guy Oliver ... Frederick von Austreim
Edythe Chapman ... Mrs. von Austreim
Lillian Leighton ... Angela's Great Aunt
DeWitt Jennings ... English Barrister


German-American Karl and French-American Jules are in love with Angela when each returns to his country as war breaks out. She sails for France and while there is nearly raped by Karl as the Germans invade. She is later arrested for sending secret messages to Jules but Karl defends her. Both are saved from execution by the arrival of the French forces and Count Jules Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Screen's Greatest Patriotic Message (Print Ad-Daily Republican, ((Cape Girardeau, Mo.)) 6 November 1917) See more »


Drama | Romance | War


Not Rated

Did You Know?


One of only two films (Romance of the Redwood, A (1917) is the other) in which actress Mary Pickford was directed by Cecil B. DeMille. The two films were released a few months apart in the summer of 1917. See more »


When Angela is returning to her bedroom after taking of the German commander's boots, the shot of her approaching the door is shown twice. See more »


Angela Moore: [To Karl] If there's a spark of manhood left in you - go and save those women!
See more »

Alternate Versions

The George Eastman House version in their Motion Picture Study Collection has an uncredited piano score and runs 76 minutes. See more »


Featured in Cecil B. DeMille: American Epic (2004) See more »

User Reviews

Mary Pickford Salutes Ramon Novarro
11 October 2007 | by wes-connorsSee all my reviews

Mary Pickford ("Born on the Fourth of July" as Angela Moore) is "The Little American" (of French heritage); she falls in love with Jack Holt (as Karl Von Austreim), who had moved to America with his German father and American mother. French-American Raymond Hatton (as Count Jules de Destin of the "Fighting Destins") has fallen in love with Ms. Pickford. The love triangled threesome eventually wind up in France, with the Great War (World War I, in hindsight) complicating their lives considerably.

A mostly entertaining, if propagandistically flawed, Cecil B. DeMille film. The torpedoing, and sinking, of a ship carrying Pickford is "Titanic"-like. The war intrigue gets dramatic as Pickford slowly becomes an undercover spy for France, while the Germans occupy her ancestral home. Of course, German lover Holt arrives. It was difficult to believe they took so long to recognize each other as he moved in for the rape, but it was dark; and, prior events had them believe each other dead. The film goes WAY over-the-top in its symbolism. Pickford was, by the way, Canadian - though, few could deny she wasn't a "Little American", for all intents and purposes.

FUN to spot "extras" who later became major stars include Wallace Beery, Colleen Moore, and Ramon Novarro - especially, watch for Mr. Novarro exhibiting "star" quality during one of the film's more memorable sequences: Pickford and the wounded soldier saluting each other as he is taken by her on a stretcher. Novarro even gets Mary Pickford to write a letter for him; obviously, he's got a future in pictures. Also future-bound is Ben Alexander, who plays the boy "Bobby"; he becomes a dependable child actor, and grows up to become a Jack Webb partner on "Dragnet".

******* The Little American (7/12/17) Cecil B. DeMille ~ Mary Pickford, Jack Holt, Raymond Hatton

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None | English

Release Date:

12 July 1917 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Pequena Americana See more »


Box Office


$166,949 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Mary Pickford Company See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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