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Through the Back Door (1921)

When her mother remarries, a young Belgian girl is left behind with her nurse, but when Germany invades the country, she is sent to America to find her mother.




Credited cast:
Mary Pickford ... Jeanne
Gertrude Astor ... Louise Reeves
Wilfred Lucas ... Elton Reeves
Helen Raymond Helen Raymond ... Marie
C. Norman Hammond C. Norman Hammond ... Jacques Lanvain
Elinor Fair ... Margaret Brewster
Adolphe Menjou ... James Brewster
Peaches Jackson ... Conrad
Doreen Turner ... Constant
John Harron ... Billy Boy
George Dromgold George Dromgold ... Chauffeur
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jeanne Carpenter Jeanne Carpenter ... Jeanne (age 5)
Walter Wilkinson Walter Wilkinson


In Belgium in 1903, widowed Madame Bodamere is remarried to a rich American, who insists that she leave her young daughter Jeanne behind with the child's nurse Marie. Several years later, the mother comes back to reclaim her child, but Marie, not wanting to give up Jeanne, tells the mother that the child is dead. When Belgium is invaded in 1914, Marie fears for Jeanne's safety and sends her, now a teenager, to America along with a letter to Jeanne's mother confessing Marie's deception. On the trip, Jeanne picks up two young Belgian orphans and takes them with her. Jeanne finds her mother living on a large estate, and is repeatedly denied the chance to explain who she is. She ends up taking a job as a maid in her mother's mansion, and claiming the two orphans as her own. Meanwhile, her mother grows increasingly despondent, and her marriage soon stands on shaky ground. Written by Snow Leopard

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

orphan | nurse | belgium | maid | letter | See All (17) »


It's as wholesome as a healthy child, and as charming as a burst of sunshine. A picture that will long be remembered in which Miss Pickford brings a message of unusual happiness (Print Ad-Pullman Herald, ((Pullman, Wash.)) 19 August 1921) See more »


Comedy | Drama


Did You Know?


Swedish author Astrid Lindgren saw the film in 1922 at age 15 and later borrowed a few ideas for her Pippi Longstocking children's books, most notably Pippi using scrubs as skates to clean the floor. See more »


The telegram from Louise, forgiving Marie, is dated 15 September 1914. Germany invaded Belgium on 4 August. The long voyage to America in addition to the plot complications would have probably taken a lot longer to resolve. See more »


Featured in Mary Pickford: The Muse of the Movies (2008) See more »

User Reviews

Good Mary Pickford Feature With A Little Of Everything
29 December 2005 | by Snow LeopardSee all my reviews

This Mary Pickford feature has a little of everything, and while it hardly measures up to her best movies, it's a good movie with some enjoyable comedy and some thoughtful moments. The story is quite predictable, but it gives Pickford a chance to play the kind of character that her audiences loved, and that she herself portrayed so believably.

Pickford plays Jeanne, a young Belgian who is left behind when her mother is remarried to a rich American. When the war breaks out, Jeanne joins many other refugees, and heads to America to rejoin her mother, whom she finds in the midst of her own troubles. There are numerous complications, most of them quite familiar from other melodramas of the era. The supporting cast is solid, with Gertrude Astor particularly believable as the mother.

The main attraction of the movie is to see Pickford play the kind of resourceful, ever-hopeful young woman that allowed her to use her wide range of acting skills. The comic parts are good, and they include the sequence with Jeanne's innovative way of scrubbing a muddy floor. Pickford has good interactions with the other characters, both in dramatic scenes and in lighter moments.

The story itself is somewhat uneven, but Pickford keeps it going at all times. This one is probably of interest only to those who enjoy Pickford or silent movies in general, but for those who are already fans, it has more than enough to be worth seeing.

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None | English

Release Date:

5 May 1921 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Backv√§gen till Lyckan See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Mary Pickford Company See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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