Gilbert Speaks On Mary Pickford’s Sparrows

2 May


It was another sleepless night: my father dropping by with a few recently departed souls; I was stressing out because I’m in the middle of publishing one book as I begin work on another book about the ghosts in my attic. After sending Fred and his friend on their merry way, I decided to watch some television. Whenever I can’t sleep, I always turn to the Turner Classic Movie Channel. This time I was treated to a 1926 film called Sparrows. Do you know who Mary Pickford is? You will after the jump.

Little Mary

Gladys Louise Smith aka Mary Pickford (1892-1979) may have been a Canadian, but she was America’s Sweetheart. Both her parents worked. Mary had two younger siblings: Charlotte and John. Her father, Charles was an alcoholic who abandoned his family, then died from a blood clot. Her mother began to take in boarders to make ends meet. One boarder was a theatrical stage manager. Mary got her first role at the age of seven, then later got the part of Little Eva in the Toronto Valentine Company’s production of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. It wasn’t long before Mary was starring in a film a week.


Mary Pickford had shocked her fans when she’d cut her famous curls to play the socialite in the 1929 Coquette. Her fans were even more furious when she did the film, The Taming of the Shrew with husband Douglas Fairbanks.

But hey! Mary wanted to do talkies and besides being in her 30s, Mary was tired of playing little girls. Mary may have played the fragile flower waiting to be rescued on screen, but off screen, Mary Pickford was a movie industry heavyweight. She was one hell of a great businesswoman who got her Hollywood friends to sell millions of Liberty Bonds to help with the war effort. Mary helped bring about the Motion Picture Relief Fund, but it wasn’t enough. Mary began producing films and had a hand in every part of the film production. In 1919 Mary co-founded United Artists with Charlie Chaplin, D.W. Griffith and future husband #2, Douglas Fairbanks.

Although her film life was successful, Mary Pickford’s personal life was not the happy ending one would expect. Her Bio is here for you to read.


The 1926 American silent film about a young girl who rescues a baby from some nasty kidnappers was produced by, and starred Mary Pickford. The film is about an evil man, Mr. Grimes (Gustav von Seyffertitz) and his wife, Mrs. Grimes (Charlotte Mineau) who live near an alligator-infested swamp with pockets of quicksand and bogs to keep the orphans that they use as slaves from escaping.



There were no social networks or agencies around in those days to protect these children from people like the Grimes. Mary Pickford chose the subject of “baby farms” because stuff like this was going on. It was a black market where kids were either stolen for ransom, or if orphaned, used as slave labor.

Mary plays the part of an adolescent orphan named Molly. She is the one ray of sunshine in an otherwise bleak existence for the poor children under her charge. The poor children live in a barn and are forced to sleep on hay. The children range in age from one-years-old to eight-years-old. There is no kindness showed by the Grimes family, and the Grimes’ son, Ambrose (Spec O’Donnell), mistreats the children.


Molly, who takes care of the children as if they were her own, is heartbroken when baby Amy dies from malnutrition. After a kidnapping scheme hatched between Mr. Grimes and his crooked friends gets them the baby girl of a wealthy family, Molly is put in charge of the baby (Mary Louise Miller). Molly falls in love with the baby who has replaced the one that died.


This may have been a silent film, but it kept me on the edge of my seat as I watched Molly, with the baby girl tied to her back, lead the other children across alligator swamps as they flee from Mr. Grimes who wants to kill the baby.


The only thing keeping our heroine strong in the face of constant danger is her trust in GOD. Although Sparrows is a worthy drama with a revealing look into the horrors of kidnappings, and baby farms that existed in the depression era, Mary Pickford and the children were able to bring enough sunshine into an otherwise morbid tale. Thankfully, for all involved, there was a happy ending.

Sparrows is now included in my Granny’s Insomnia Theatre, and I give it a 5 star rating.



One Response to “Gilbert Speaks On Mary Pickford’s Sparrows”

  1. MG WELLS June 12, 2017 at 9:55 pm #

    Reblogged this on MG WELLS and commented:
    I Found this interesting.

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