Sunday, May 11, 2014

Silent Sundays: Amarilly of Clothesline Alley (1918)


Amarilly Jenkins (Mary Pickford) lives a decent part of town called Clothesline Alley. It is neither a rich section nor a poor section. She comes from a big family and has a boyfriend named Terry. Amarilly did work at a theater as a scrub lady but she lost it when the theater burned down. Her brother gets her a new job at a café as a cigarette girl. A frequent patron at the café is a rich young man named Gordon Philips.
            One night a fight breaks out at the café and Gordon is hurt. Amarilly sees Gordon outside struggling and takes him back to her apartment to help him. Terry comes by and sees Gordon in her apartment and gets a little jealous.
            The next day Amarilly goes to Gordon’s art studio to get his laundry for her mother to clean. She mentions his place is a mess. Gordon gives her a job cleaning his studio for him. Thanks to her mother everyone in town thinks Amarilly is dating Gordon. Terry hears this news and breaks off their engagement.
            A few months later Amarilly is at Gordon’s house when she tells him that Clothesline Alley has been quarantined with Scarlett Fever and she and her brothers have had to sleep in the park. Gordon asks his aunt, who runs a humanity house, if Amarilly can stay. The aunt wants to make Amarilly a social experiment by trying to make her equal in their society. Amarilly does not like being dolled up in rich clothes she just wants to go home to her mother and brothers.
            Gordon and his aunt take Amarilly to a war relief charity. All the men bid to get a kiss from her. Gordon pays the most. The aunt sees her nephew is getting close to Amarilly and she does not want him to ruin his social standing by marrying her.
            One day Amarilly’s mother and brothers come for a visit. Amarilly overhears one of the older ladies tell Gordon that they are sorry that he has had to be humiliated by Amarilly and her family. When her family leaves for Clothesline Alley that night she leaves with them. That night the mother tells all her friends how stuffy everyone was. Amarilly goes to see Terry to tell him to come over for dinner since her mother will be out at a wedding. Gordon comes by to apologize to Amarilly. He tells her he wanted to educate her and to take her away. Amarilly does not want to go away with him she is happy with her life and her family.
            On the way to Amarilly’s, Terry is accidentally shot in the back. He manages to make it to Amarilly’s apartment and then passes out. Fortunately he pulls through surgery.
            A few years later Amarilly and Terry are married with two kids.

            I really liked the story of Amarilly of Clothesline Alley. It was never Amarilly’s idea to be with a rich man she was happy in her life with her family and Terry. I loved how the poor girl did not end up with the rich man she ended up where she was supposed to be and where she felt comfortable. It proves that being rich does not make someone more attractive or that being rich makes you a truly happy person.  Amarilly of Clothesline Alley is one of my favorite Mary Pickford films I have seen. Despite the bad ending it was cute and very enjoyable. It is currently available to view in full on Youtube.