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Sparrows (1926)

Cast: Mary Pickford, Mary Pickford, Gustav Von Seyffertitz, more...
Director: William Beaudine, William Beaudine
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Image Entertainment
Genre: Classics, Drama, Classic Drama, Silent, Silent Dramas, Classic Drama, Silent Drama
Running Time: 109 min.
Languages: English
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Synopsis
Sparrows, Mary Pickford's 1926 release, superbly combines the two elements--sentiment and adventure--that characterized Pickford's best work. At first glance, the film seems to be a horror picture, as satanic potato farmer Grimes (Gustav Von Seyfertitz) crushes a child's doll with his thumb and forefinger and tosses the plaything into the dismal swamps surrounding his lands. We learn that Grimes has been exploiting the children from a local orphanage, forcing them to work his farm day and night. Though collecting a hefty maintenance pay for the orphans, Grimes dresses them in rags and feeds them a starvation diet. Happily, Mary Pickford, the oldest of the orphans, has enough gumption to stand up to Grimes and prohibit him from inflicting any further atrocities. The plot thickens when a kidnaped child is left in Grimes' care in exchange for a generous portion of the ransom money. Mary rescues the abducted child, as well as all the other orphans, by leading them through the alligator-infested and quicksand-festooned swamp--a truly frightening sequence, made even more so by the use of real gators. Sparrows falters only in those scenes where Pickford, with genuine but somewhat misguided piety, "converses" with the Almighty, and in the final motorboat-chase sequence, which seems prolonged (and unnecessary!) after that heart-pounding swamp escape. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Spooky Pickford by JGillespie September 20, 2003 - 3:27 PM PDT
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2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
This movie was the inspiration for Charles Laughtn's Night of the Hunter. The atmosphere is similarly sinister. The concept of a swampy "baby farm" where orphans are forced to labor for the evil Mr. Grimes is a fantastic vehicle for Mary Pickford to play the indomitable and plucky girl archetype that she does better than anyone. Anyone intrested in Pickford or silent film in general should rent this.




GreenCine Member Rating
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(Average 9.00)
3 Votes
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