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Amarilly of Clothesline Alley

(silent 1918 b 67')

En: 5 Ed: 4

Adapted from the novel by Belle K. Maniates, a poor girl has not kissed her long-time boyfriend, but she is wooed by a socialite sculptor.

Mrs. Americus Jenkins (Kate Price) takes in washing, and her daughter Amarilly (Mary Pickford) works in a theater. Mrs. Phillips (Ida Waterman) calls her son Gordon Phillips (Norman Kerry) at the athletic club. Amarilly rides on a motorcycle with Terry McGowen (William Scott). They dance, and he takes her home. After going together for three years, Terry wants a goodnight kiss; but he doesn't get one.

Amarilly reports a fire in the theater and loses her job. At home she helps her mother cook for the family. Amarilly gets a job in the Cyclone Café. Mrs. Phillips hopes her son will marry Colette. Gordon flirts with Amarilly. Snitch McCarthy (Tom Wilson) instigates a fight. Gordon is thrown out in the street before the police arrive. Amarilly brings him home, and her mother takes care of him. Terry is jealous.

Amarilly visits Gordon's studio and notices it needs cleaning. She takes his dirty clothes so her mother can wash them. Mrs. Jenkins urges her youngest son to fight. Terry calls on Amarilly and is sad. She takes off her engagement ring, but he won't take it.

Mrs. Phillips has a society for human betterment meeting. Amarilly tells Gordon that her alley is quarantined. He calls his mother to find her a place to stay. Gordon takes Amarilly to the meeting, and they want to experiment with her. Mrs. Phillips presents Amarilly as a social equal.

Two weeks later Gordon visits Amarilly at his mother's, and she is homesick. At the society men bid for a kiss from Amarilly, and Gordon gets it for $150. He courts her. Terry does not go with other men into a bad place.

Mrs. Phillips warns Gordon not to ruin his social position by marrying Amarilly. Mrs. Phillips invites Amarilly's family in order to embarrass her. Amarilly gets her mother to dance. Gordon feels humiliated, and a woman is insulted when Mrs. Jenkins mentions washing.

Terry is working and sees Amarilly in the street. She invites him to supper. Gordon calls on Amarilly to apologize, and he offers to educate her; but she declines. Snitch accidentally shoots Terry, who brings violets to Amarilly and collapses. A doctor operates while she waits. Amarilly visits Terry in the hospital. Five years later they have two children.

In this comedy the poor girl represents "America's sweetheart." Though uneducated, she is pure, honest, kind, beautiful, and friendly. The upper class is satirized in their feeble attempts to help others when all they really seem to care about is their own status.

Copyright © 2006 by Sanderson Beck

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