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Sparrows (1926)

Unrated | | Drama | 1926 (Germany)
Molly, the eldest child at a baby farm hidden deep in a swamp, must rescue the others when their cruel master decides that one of them will be disposed of.

Directors:

William Beaudine, Tom McNamara (uncredited)

Writers:

Winifred Dunn (story), George Marion Jr. (titles) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mary Pickford ... Molly
Roy Stewart ... Dennis Wayne
Mary Louise Miller Mary Louise Miller ... Doris Wayne (the baby)
Gustav von Seyffertitz ... Mr. Grimes (as Gustave Von Seyffertitz)
Charlotte Mineau ... Mrs. Grimes
Spec O'Donnell ... Ambrose (as 'Spec' O'Donnell)
Lloyd Whitlock ... Bailey
Billy Butts ... One of the children
Monty O'Grady ... Splutters - One of the Children
Jackie Levine Jackie Levine ... One of the Children (as Jack Lavine)
Billy 'Red' Jones Billy 'Red' Jones ... One of the Children (as Billy Jones)
Muriel McCormac Muriel McCormac ... One of the Children (as Muriel MacCormac)
Florence Rogan Florence Rogan ... One of the Children
Mary McLain Mary McLain ... One of the Children (as Mary Frances McLean)
Sylvia Bernard Sylvia Bernard ... One of the Children
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Storyline

Evil Mr.Grimes keeps a rag-tag bunch orphans on his farm deep in a swamp in the US South. He forces them to work in his garden and treats them like slaves. They are watched over by the eldest, Molly. A gang in league with Mr. Grimes kidnaps Doris, the beautiful little daughter of a rich man, and hides her out on Grimes' farm, awaiting ransom. When the police close in, and Mr. Grimes threatens to throw Doris into the bottomless mire, Molly must lead her little flock out through the alligator-infested swamp. Written by John Oswalt <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

baby | alligator | blanket | doll | letter | See All (21) »

Taglines:

Here is life's song of love, beating with laughs and sobs, it's melody in tune with your own heartstrings. (print ad - Lubbock Morning Avalanche - Lyric Theatre - Lubbock, Texas - April 9, 1930)

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although William Beaudine received critical acclaim both inside and outside the film industry for his direction of this film, for many years a story circulated that star Mary Pickford felt that he was too cavalier about the safety of the actors, especially in a scene where she had to carry a baby across some water filled with alligators (Pickford wanted to use a doll, but Beaudine insisted on using a real baby), Pickford swore that he would never work for her or her company as long as she lived. However, cameraman Hal Mohr, who shot this picture, said in an interview that the "alligator incident" never happened. He said "There wasn't an alligator within ten miles of Pickford! Do people think we were crazy?" Mohr explained that the studio would never have let a star of Pickford's magnitude endanger herself by working with real alligators, let alone allow a baby to go near them. The effect, Mohr said, was done as an intricate double exposure, with the live alligators filmed at one time, and Pickford and the children filmed at another time. In any case, Beaudine and Pickford did clash on the picture. Beaudine eventually walked off the set and turned the direction over to his assistant, and he and Pickford never worked together again. See more »

Quotes

Dennis Wayne: I'm licked - I've sent them word I'll pay the ransom.
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Alternate Versions

A newly tinted version of this movie was copyrighted in 1976 by Killian Shows, Inc. and distributed by Kino International. Restoration was done by Karl Malkames and an original piano score was composed and performed by William Perry. See more »

Connections

Featured in Mary Pickford: A Life on Film (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Shall We Gather at the River?
(1864)
Written by Robert Lowry
Sung by the children
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User Reviews

 
Sparrows versus a Hawk!
11 May 2008 | by JohnHowardReidSee all my reviews

Although this is Mary Pickford's film, it also presents Von Seyffertitz with the best role of his career. Needing little in the way of make-up, the gaunt actor adds to his frighteningly sinister appearance by flourishing his claw-like hands and limping in awkward yet forceful strides. Child actor, Spec O'Donnell, who usually played comic roles, is also most effective. But it is, of course, Mary herself who focuses most of our attention, not only in the hair-raising scenes in which she is pursued by Grimes but in the many heartrending sequences in which she protects her "sparrows".

William Beaudine later became Hollywood's number one hack, but in silent days—indeed until around the mid-1930s—he was a very polished director who could not only draw great performances from his players but add immeasurably to a film's atmosphere and visual effect. Here, his compositions are indelibly terrifying.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

None | English

Release Date:

1926 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Scraps See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$463,455 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Pickford Corporation See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Ontario)

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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