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Burglar by Proxy (1919)

A terrible toothache causes Jack Robin to stop his automobile in front of the home of Dorothy Mason. Noticing a flat tire, Jack attaches his automatic pump and forgets about it as he ... See full summary »


John Francis Dillon (as Jack Dillon)


John Francis Dillon (story) (as Jack Dillon), Madeline Matzen (as M. Matzen)




Credited cast:
Jack Pickford ... Jack Robin
Gloria Hope Gloria Hope ... Dorothy Mason
John Francis Dillon ... 'Spider' Kelly (as Jack Dillon)
Robert Walker ... Harlan Graves
Tom Guise Tom Guise ... John Mason
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Leo Willis Leo Willis ... One of Spider's Henchmen


A terrible toothache causes Jack Robin to stop his automobile in front of the home of Dorothy Mason. Noticing a flat tire, Jack attaches his automatic pump and forgets about it as he listens enthralled to Dorothy's singing. When the sound of the burst tire brings Dorothy running out, Jack feigns injury so he can be nursed by her. After he leaves the house, and Dorothy's father discovers some important invention plans missing, Harlan Graves, Dorothy's suitor, suggests that Jack stole them. Jack, suspecting Graves, breaks into Graves' home to clear himself and meets a real burglar, "Spider" Kelly, who adopts Jack as his guide. They blow up a safe at a house party where Jack suspects the plans to be hidden. The papers are found, Graves is arrested and Spider, disappointed that Jack made such a mess in blowing the safe, goes off, leaving Dorothy and Jack happily alone. Written by Pamela Short

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In prohibition days this lover was driven to burglary, not drink (Print Ad- Pittsburg Press, ((Pittsburg, Penna.)) 7 September 1919) See more »




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Shown at Cinefest 2011 (print courtesy of Library of Congress). See more »

User Reviews

You Have Stolen My Bonds, Now Don't Go 'Way
28 March 2019 | by bobliptonSee all my reviews

Jack Pickford meets cute with Gloria Hope. While she thinks she is nursing him back to health, Robert Walker steals some Important Papers from her father's safe, and lays the blame off on Pickford. While trying to clear his name, Jack runs into the seemingly infinite number of burglars in the neighborhood. They quickly accept him as one of their own.

The largest role among the burglars is taken by John Francis Dillon, who also directed the movie. Although the print I looked at on the Eye Institute site had no titles, the movie did not suffer noticeably; although there were many spots where it looked like titles should be, the acting made things quite clear. Titles might serve to ornament the story, but were not needed to tell it.

Mr. Dillon plays one of those amiable mugs who inhabited the movies. In the talkie era, he would call the hero "pal" and misunderstand everyone's motives to comic and feature-lengthening effect. It may be, of course, that I have seen so many of this sort of movie that I can impute matters which aren't there. I think not. The mugs of the 1930s were played by actors who did not originate the roles, but performed as types that went back, in some cases, to ancient Rome and the gags of Plautus -- which he undoubtedly stole.

The camerawork is simple: unmoving center row orchestra, with occasional cuts to perform changes that might have been better performed by camera movement. That sort of work was costly, and for a further year or two, an unnecessary expense, until the Europeans ot back into the market and Hollywood had to up its game.

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Release Date:

24 August 1919 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

間違い泥棒 See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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