LITTLE ANNIE ROONEY
starring Mary Pickford
MOTION PICTURE MAGAZINE
It's a different Mary Pickford who graces the screen in this colorful study of the "sidewalks of New York." It's a Mary Pickford who has placed Dorothy Vernon's flowing robes away in camphor and who emerges as a sort of "hooligan hoyden" of the East Side. Some years ago, she played a similar role. Perhaps you remember "Amarilly of Clothes-Line Alley." Here she gives full expression to a hundred whims and caprices in her study of a juvenile gang leader. She indulges in Irish confetti and the battle of the bricks which introduces the plot is replete with local color and action, even tho it is carried out too extensively.
Little Annie Rooney
starring Mary Pickford and William Haines
Several months ago Mary Pickford asked the readers of Photoplay what sort of type they liked to see her play. And there came an immediate and overwhelming number of votes for Mary in kid parrts. In a way, "Little Annie Rooney" is an answer to Photoplay's readers. And the only truthful thing we can say is that we like their judgment.
For this is the Mary Pickford who will always be loved and welcomed. This is Mary at her best and at her truest. She isn't playing a character from any special book; she isn't really acting a part. She is just the embodiment of anybody's little girl. The story is set in the slums of New York with Mary as the leader of a gang that looks like a junior League of Nations. Annie Rooney is Irish and the daughter of a cop. In spite of the nearness of the majesty of the law, she's a great little gangster unti the tragedy of lawlessness finally hits home. And the scene in which Annie learns of the death of her father in a dance hall fight is one of the greatest she has ever done. Here is Mary playing with so much sincerity that she fairly wrings your heart out.
Most of the picture, however, is just sheer joyousness. Mary seems honestly happy to get back to pinafores. During most of the scenes, she plays with children - the funniest bunch you ever saw. The opening scenes which show Mary in the center of a mean Irish fight are simply great. And the benefit show for Garibaldi, the Wop's horse, is another great episode. There is just enough hint of a love story to give it a nice little lift at the end. But you'll like Annie when she undergoes a blood transfusion to save a dying man, all the time believing the operation means death to her.
As for Mary's problem to find stories, she can make as many more like this one as she finds time to film.
Video source: Nostalgia, Critic's Choice, Milestone
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