Poor Little Rich Girl, The (1917)
[Note: The following review is of a non-Peary title; click here to read more.]
“Mother promised to see me, just one little minute to-day.”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
Unfortunately, the cliched storyline for TPLRG (scripted by Frances Marion, and based on a play by Eleanor Gates) isn’t all that interesting or well-told; indeed, at times it almost seems like a parody of itself, given that Pickford’s supporting cast members were intentionally chosen for their extreme height, and certain sets were built to provide a skewed vision of Pickford’s stature. Yet director Maurice Tourneur (father of Jacques Tourner) manages to turn the final third of the film — as a drugged Pickford translates some of the little-understood metaphors she’s heard into literal imagery — into a uniquely surreal Wonderland dreamscape. This section alone at least partially redeems the movie, helping to justify my claim that it’s “must-see”; however, it’s likely that any of Pickford’s other popular child-role titles — such as Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1917), Pollyanna (1920), or Little Lord Fauntleroy (1921) — might suffice just as well.
Note: The 1997 documentary Mary Pickford: A Life on Film (scripted by Rita Mae Brown and narrated by Whoopi Goldberg) is highly recommended as an insightful overview of Pickford’s life and career, one which places special emphasis on her role as a pioneering female businesswoman in Hollywood.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments: