Century Film Project

Celebrating the movies our ancestors loved

Tag: Anne Schaefer

Little Princess* (1917)

The classic tale of a young scamp in a snooty all-girls school is given the star treatment by Mary Pickford in this movie. Pickford had made her name playing girls well below her actual age, and here she really stretches things, pretending to be a child of only 10 or 11.

As the story opens, Mary, as Sara Crewe, is still in India, hiding in an urn and spying on her father (played by Norman Kerry) as he decides to move back to Britain after years of service in the colonial forces. She is opposed to the idea, being accustomed to a privileged life of servants and a large house, but children don’t get to make those decisions for themselves. She is enrolled in the Minchin boarding school for girls, where she is very shy and uncertain at first, and this is perceived as standoff-ish, which, along with the vast wealth her father provides for her comforts, earns her the nickname of “little Princess” from the other students.

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Better Man (1912)


Once again, we have an interesting exploration of ethnic and gender tropes in an early Western, this time from Vitagraph who were seen as the major competition for Biograph in turning out drama at the time. Here, a Mexican horse thief (played by Robert Thornby, who went on to direct “The Deadlier Sex” and “Bianca”) proves to be “the better man” than a white husband and father who gambles away his pay at a bar while his young child lies sick at home. The thief enters the home looking for food, but the wife implored him to find a doctor, and, his heart moved by the icon of Maria on the wall, the wanted Latino criminal agrees, though it exposes him to possible capture. The father attempts to apprehend him, is bested in a fair fight, and tries again to get the drop on the Mexican while the doctor ministers to the child, resulting in a thorough shaming by his own wife. Although it may seem a surprising turn of events, the story is in line with other progressive “message pictures” of the day which blamed much of the world’s misery on unmanly men for failing to live up to their gender role as providers and protectors of women and children.

Director: Rollin S. Sturges

Cast: Anne Schaefer, Robert Thornby

Run Time: 12 Min

I have been unable to locate this movie online. If you know where it can be seen for free, please link to it in the comments.