Friends (1912)

by popegrutch

Friends Pickford

This short by Griffith is a classic love-triangle, set in a Western context, with Mary Pickford (who was in “Coquette” and “The New York Hat”) coming between close friends Henry B. Walthall (also in “Birth of a Nation” and “Corner in Wheat”) and Lionel Barrymore (from “The Burglar’s Dilemma” and “You Can’t Take It With You”). All of this takes place in the saloon in a California mining town, where Mary lives alone in a room upstairs, and she comes across to me as rather forward by the gender standards of the day. The Intertitle refers to her as “the little orphan whose eager eyes and bright smile make Placer Gulch Haven an Earthly paradise for the rough miners,” which may not quite be a euphemism for “prostitute,” since she shows no interest in the other saloon patrons and apparently the eponymous friends intend to marry her. Walthall is her foppish beau Dandy Jack at the beginning, but when he leaves her to seek his fortune, she takes up with the grizzled and burly Barrymore, soon replacing Walthall’s picture with his in her photographic frame. This is what tips him off when he inopportunely returns, but, of course, friendship wins out and Walthall gallantly concedes the fray, apparently to Mary’s disappointment.

Director: D.W. Griffith

Camera: Billy Bitzer

Starring: Mary Pickford, Henry B. Walthall, Lionel Barrymore, Harry Carey, Elmer Booth, Robert Harron, Walter Miller.

Run Time: 12 Min, 45 seconds.

You can watch it for free: here.