Young Gwendolyn (Mary Pickford) has wealth and comfort, but not much else. Her parents are too busy with work and social duties to spend time with her, and she doesn't have any other children to play with. After a series of misadventures, Gwen's eleventh birthday arrives -- but will she survive it after an accidental poisoning? The dream / delirium sequence, as Gwen hovers between life and death, is excellent.
Mary Pickford was actually twenty-five years old in this film. She was petite with a naturally youthful appearance to begin with, and the other taller actors helped to create the illusion of her as a child.
I had first seen this movie after recording it off TCM a few months ago. It's one of my favorite Mary Pickford films (as well as one of my top earlier silents), quick-paced and entertaining through all of Gwen's funny escapades (including breaking the pipes in her bathroom, and starting a mud fight after being forced to wear boy's clothes). Mary herself is both sweetly endearing and entirely believable as a little girl.
The most elaborate part of the movie, though, is definitely the dream sequence. After Gwen is poisoned, she imagines a sort of alternate world, "where things appear as they really are." The costuming and special effects are incredibly well done here -- to create a sort of place that is both creative and imaginative, yet also truthful and relevant to Gwen's actual life. It really is spectacular, especially when envisioning it through the eyes of original 1917 audiences.
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
See it here.