THE HOODLUM. Pickford/First National, 1919. Mary Pickford, Ralph Lewis, Max Davidson, Kenneth Harlan, Melvin Messenger. Photography: Charles Rosher; art director: Max Parker. Director: Sidney A. Franklin. Shown at Cinecon 40, Hollywood CA, September 2004.

    I have been told that William K. Everson considered this to be Pickford’s best film and I wouldn’t disagree with that assessment.

THE HOODLUM Mary Pickford

    Pickford plays a poor little rich girl who lives with her grandfather in a mansion while her sociologist father is away.

    When she decides to go live with her father in the ghetto where he is gathering material for a book, she quickly adapts to her new life, turning into a street kid and making friends throughout the neighborhood.

    She also befriends a lonely man who had worked for her grandfather and had gone to jail for financial misdealings for which he was not responsible. Learning that papers that will clear him are in a safe in her grandfather’s house, she helps him break in and retrieve the documents, only to be surprised by the police and her equally surprised grandfather.

    The ghetto set was designed by Max Parker and is a marvelous setting for the multiple story lines in this endearing film. Pickford was never better, playing a gamut of roles that culminate in her coming-out as a young woman and, finally, a bride.

Editorial Comment:   Obviously, then, the photo above comes from the end of the movie, not the middle or beginning. That’s Kenneth Harlan with Mary, in case you didn’t recognize him!