12 user 4 critic

The Flapper (1920)

Ginger grows up in a slow town. Because of her wild attitude, her father decides to send her to a strict boarding school. Despite the strictness, the girls have fun getting into flapper lifestyle trouble including flirting.


Alan Crosland


Frances Marion (screenplay), Frances Marion (story)

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Cast overview:
Olive Thomas ... Genevieve 'Ginger' King
Theodore Westman Jr. Theodore Westman Jr. ... Bill Forbes
William P. Carleton ... Richard Channing (as W.P. Carleton)
Warren Cook Warren Cook ... Sen. King - Ginger's Father
Katherine Johnston Katherine Johnston ... Hortense
Arthur Housman ... Tom Morran - The Eel
Louise Lindroth Louise Lindroth ... Elmina Buttons (as Frances Marshall)
Marcia Harris Marcia Harris ... Mrs. Paddles
Charles Craig Charles Craig ... Rev. Cushil
Bobby Connelly ... King Jr
Maurice Steuart Maurice Steuart ... Schoolboy (as Maury Stewart Jr.)


Small town girl Ginger King ( Olive Thomas ) , attends a Eastern boarding school and yearns for a more glamorous life. Dissatisfied with her military school boyfriend, Bill Forbes, she meets the older Richard Channing and goes to a country club dance with him. More bold after that adventure, Ginger, while on her way home for a holiday, meets two crooks who entrust some stolen jewels to her for safekeeping. Ginger then puts the jewels on and appears in her home town dressed as a vamp. Once the crooks reappear, however, she realizes the seriousness of the situation and gives up her pretensions to return to Bill. Written by Pamela Short

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


In which "Sixteen" finds stealing hearts a more dangerous pastime than stealing doughnuts. (Print ad- The Age, ((Melbourne, Vic.)) 30 October 1920)









Release Date:

10 May 1920 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Neiskusno devojče See more »

Filming Locations:

Miami, Florida, USA

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


A then-unknown Norma Shearer has an uncredited bit part in this film. See more »

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User Reviews

Apogee of The World's Sweetheart
14 November 2016 | by Kel BoyceSee all my reviews

The radiantly beautiful Olive Thomas is just about believable as sixteen- year-old Genevieve King, although she was actually 24 or 25 at the time. It seems certain that the common, early movie practice of chest-strapping was used here. In the movie, in spite of the title, Olive plays what was known as a 'Baby Vamp'.

Genevieve is a bored upper-crust girl, who lives in a classic plantation mansion, well provided with colored servants. Unfortunately, the flighty, potentially vampish, teenager, was prone to disappearing with a male friend, and, after being double-crossed by a governess, father packs her off to a girl's boarding school. Here she falls in with some unsavory schoolgirls, and is easily led into being a naughty girl….one who is keen to attach herself to a particular adult man whom she informs that she is 'about twenty' and not sixteen as she's meant to be in the film.

After many adventures and a ridiculous suicide attempt, Genevieve decides to transform herself into a flapper, although, in her new garb, she is not girly enough to be a flapper of the 1920s. It seems 1920 was a transitional year during which the line between vamp, flapper and even diva was blurred. Flapper, however, was the 'in' term.

Snow scenes always work well in black and white film, and the scene with the horse drawn sleigh and girls sledging is no exception. The scene where the girls turn over their sledges at speed on a downhill run is not as comical as it seems. These extras were in fact badly injured in the shoot, and they filled the local hospital with their broken bodies.

Ginger-haired, violet-eyed Olive Thomas (nee Duffy) was of Irish descent, and became the wife of Jack Pickford (brother of Mary). She had been in the Zeigfield Folies before entering the movies, but it was while on a European tour with Jack that she somehow ingested a solution of bichloride of mercury. It may have been accidental or, perhaps, suicide. She died five days later, leaving Jack devastated, although sister Mary seemed unconcerned for the 'World's Sweetheart' (Mary was only 'America's sweetheart'). One person who was concerned was Mabel Normand, a good friend of Jack. It seems Mabel never met Olive, but had a signed photo of the Baby Vamp in her dressing room and an album of her photos at home. After Olive died, Mabel spent many hours sitting with her grieving mother, and always remained very angry about the circumstances of Ollie's death. Jack Pickford built a mausoleum in New York and had Ollie interred within it. This had the Pickford name inscribed over its doorway, but no other Pickford was ever buried there. We can assume that the sweet Mary, who didn't bother to attend the funeral, saw to that.

Olive seems very modern-looking in her films, and very unlike, say, Mabel Normand who was an entrenched Edwardian. Ollie could easily be cast in a picture today, whereas Mabel is clearly the face of the 1890s (producers have never found any modern actress Mablescent enough to portray her accurately). The World's Sweetheart would undoubtedly have gone on to play more mature, womanly roles had she lived, while Miss Normand and Miss Pickford were hamstrung by their child-like appearance (off-screen as well as on-screen).

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