Starring Mary Pickford, Spec O'Donnell and Gustav von Seyffertitz
MOTION PICTURE MAGAZINE
It was Douglas Fairbanks who told us that Mary Pickford's production of "Sparrows" was Dickensonian. And after seeing it we have nothing less and nothing more to say of it.
Perhaps you know that it is the story of a baby farm . . . with Gustav von Seyffertitz as Grimes, the cruel manager . . . and Mary, as Mollie, who watches over the little boys and girls.
Melodrama is interwoven in the story and there is nothing new or startling about the plot. But you won't realize this until the last lovely close-up of Mary has faded from the screen. Which means, of course, that the story interests you so much that your critical faculty is dulled.
We are glad that Mary is not going to continue to play grown-ups parts. So many on the screen can be the grand lady. And no one else that we have ever heard about or seen captures the elusive and misty quality of childhood as Mary does.
You'll weep a little. You'll laugh a great deal. And you'll hold your breath once or twice.
Directed by William Beaudine.
starring Mary Pickford, Spec O'Donnell, and Gustav von Seyffertitz
The choice of "Sparrows" was a singular one for Mary
Pickford to make, but no one can deny that she has done the picture
surpassingly well. The subject is gloomy, and some of the horrors
recall Dickens, yet the darkness is shot through with many laughs.
Indeed, so heavily does the hand of melodrama smite "Sparrows"
that the picture passes beyond the bounds of credibility. Thus
the spectator relaxes, content to give way to his amazement at
She is Mama Mollie, a lovely waif in whom the maternal instinct is well, there aren't words to tell how strong it is, for she mothers eleven woebegone, poverty-stricken children at a baby farm kept by the villainous Grimes in the midst of a Lousiana swamp. A kidnapped baby is thrust by Grimes into the group and the plot gets underway, Mollie's heroic efforts to keep the baby against the will of Grimes leading her and the entire brood into the deadly swamp. "Sparrows" is well worth seeing.
Video source: Movies Unlimited, Sparrows, Kino, Milestone, Nostalgia
Return to review page