The arrival of a $10 Merry Widow hat (worth $237.07 in adjusted dollars today) from New York City causes quite a stir in a small-town haberdashery. But, when the local pastor (Lionel Barrymore, from “The Miser’s Heart” and later “You Can’t Take It with You”) buys it for Mary Pickford (also in “The Usurer” and later “Daddy Long Legs”), the local gossips set to work to destroy both their reputations! Her stingy father destroys the hat and the local church board seeks to oust the minister, until he explains that he is simply the holder of a trust from Mary’s dead mother, who willed that she be provided, from time to time, with “bits of finery.” This fairly light bit of fluff does showcase both Barrymore and especially Pickford’s talents, as well as being another avenue for D.W. Griffith’s directing. The “AB” logo for American Biograph is visible in nearly every shot, showing that they were becoming increasingly concerned about copyright and piracy. Imdb claims that Mack Sennett and Dorothy Gish appear uncredited, although it’s a bit late for Sennett to still be hanging around Biograph (he founded Keystone Studios the same year) and it would be a very early appearance for Dorothy, who was only 14 at the time.
Director: D.W. Griffith
Camera: Billy Bitzer
Starring: Mary Pickford, Lionel Barrymore, Robert Harron, Mack Sennett (?), Dorothy Gish (?)
Run Time: 16 Min
You can watch it for free: here.