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Sunday, May 25, 2008

M’LISS (1918)

Working with her fave megger & scripter (Marshall Neilan, Francis Marion), Mary Pickford shines as a rural hoyden in a loosely formatted 1918 hit that turns sharply (and most effectively) dramatic in the last act. Theodore Roberts & Tully Marshall are dandy in eccentric comic turns and stalwart leading man Thomas Meighan (playing a most manly "schoolmarm") shows the charisma that helped make 1919 his biggest year with both THE MIRACLE MAN and MALE AND FEMALE. (Check out MISS LULU BETTS to see Milton Sills play a similar role. Strong, manly teachers must have been a popular character back when.) Watch Mary’s amazing control & audience rapport working entirely in silhouette when she’s told of her father’s death.

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