Take 3: Pollyanna (1920) Review

When I discovered The Silent Movie Day Blogathon, hosted by In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood and Silent-ology, I knew I had to take part in the event! As I mentioned in my review of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, silent movies are not often covered on 18 Cinema Lane due to their availability. Speaking of the aforementioned film, that review was published back in January. So, my blog was due for another article about a silent picture. I was fortunate to find 1920’s Pollyanna on Youtube. While choosing this movie for the blogathon, I realized this would be the first adaptation of Pollyanna I would see in its entirety. While I have seen the adaptation starring Hayley Mills, I only watched pieces of it. Therefore, I can’t give an honest opinion on that film. I am familiar with the general premise of Pollyanna, despite never reading the source material or seeing an entire film version. I also haven’t sought out any of Mary Pickford’s movies before. Because of everything I’ve said in this introduction, I knew watching 1920’s Pollyanna would be an exciting experience!

Pollyanna (1920) poster created by United Artists

Things I liked about the film:

Mary Pickford’s performance: I thought the cast of Pollyanna was solid. But the one actor that shined the brightest was Mary Pickford! As I’ve mentioned before, actors and actresses in silent films must rely on body language, facial expressions, and emotions to convey what a character is thinking and feeling. While portraying Pollyanna, Mary was so expressive, using the aforementioned acting components to her advantage. She was even able to quickly adapt to each situation very effortlessly! What I also liked about Mary’s performance was how she displayed feelings of sadness and frustration. Realistically, carrying a happy persona is tiring. You can only be happy for so long and so often until the feeling itself starts to wear off. Because of Mary expressing these emotions, she helps prevent her character from being one-dimensional.

Mary’s wardrobe: An element of this project that, surprisingly, stood out to me was Mary’s wardrobe. Even though these outfits appear age appropriate for her character, a more creative reason is what caught my eye. The majority of Mary’s wardrobe consisted of light-colored outfits. These outfits allowed Mary to stand out and become the focus of a given scene. This creative decision was a simple one that worked in the project’s favor. It shows how much thought was put into the film’s presentation.

The messages and lessons: Before watching this adaptation of Pollyanna, I knew the titular character’s purpose was to, simply, make people happy. While there is truth to this statement, making people happy only scratches at the surface. Pollyanna, more often than not, tries to find the “silver lining” that will help her move forward in life. This mentality allows her to see the good in everyone she meets, even her stubborn Aunt Polly. In the 21st century, it can sometimes be difficult to put ourselves in a good mood. Even in the world of movie blogging, it can be easier to talk about bad movies or unfavorable movie news. But Pollyanna shows the audience that it is possible to find the “silver lining” in our lives, even finding the good in ourselves. These are lessons and messages that are not only relatable, but timeless as well.

The Silent Movie Day Blogathon banner created by In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood and Silent-ology

What I didn’t like about the film:

An unexplained scene: When Aunt Polly is first introduced, two small children dressed up as bunnies appeared on the table. They approach Aunt Polly with pitchforks in their hands, one of these “bunnies” even poking Aunt Polly with their pitchfork. After that scene, the “bunnies” never appeared again. They were never referenced by any of the characters either. It also doesn’t help that no title card provided context to the “bunnies”. This is a scene I wish was given more explanation.

Musical selections: To make up for the lack of dialogue, music is used to emphasis the tone of a given scene. While there were musical selections in Pollyanna that matched what was happening on screen, some of these musical selections felt out of place. In the second half of the film, Pollyanna deals with a difficult situation. This situation brought up feelings of sadness and low self-esteem. But the background music during this situation was a cheery, upbeat tune. Because of this musical choice, it kind of took me out of the film.

Pollyanna’s lack of uniqueness: Like I said in the introduction, I was familiar with the general premise of Pollyanna prior to watching this adaptation. Based on what I knew, I was expecting the titular character to magically make everyone feel happy, with the script making it seem like that was Pollyanna’s “magical power”. But as I watched the movie, Pollyanna reminded me of other characters; such as Anne Shirley, Heidi, and Annie. While I liked her promotion of the “glad game”, Pollyanna’s attempts at spreading joy to those around her didn’t feel much different from the attempts of the aforementioned characters. This discovery disappointed me because I expected Pollyanna and her story to be different from Annie, Heidi, and Anne of Green Gables.

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My overall impression:

Mary Pickford is someone I’d like to call one of the “grandmothers of cinema”. A face of Hollywood’s early years, she helped play a role in showing what was possible for, at the time, a new medium. This particular film also shows what is possible when it comes to adaptations. 1920’s Pollyanna is a fine film. With strong acting, effective creative choices, and good messages, it contains likable qualities. However, the movie kind of felt like a copy of similar stories. Pollyanna herself reminded me of other young characters with shining personalities, like Anne Shirley or Ceddie. Even the older characters’ transformations in attitude were reminiscent of those such as Daddy Warbucks, Marilla Cuthbert, and Heidi’s grandfather. With all this said, the movie didn’t add much to the adaptation table. I am aware of two other adaptations of Pollyanna, including Hayley Mills’ version I mentioned in the introduction. One day, I’d like to check these films out and see which one I like best!

Overall score: 7.2 out of 10

Have you seen any silent films? If so, which one would you like to recommend? Let me know in the comment section!

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Movie Blogger Answers Movie Related Reddit Questions

When I published my review of To Catch a Spy back in June, it became my 250th movie review! I also published my 550th post in July, with that month’s Word on the Street article helping me reach that number. With these two milestones, I knew I was due to write something special! Sometimes, I listen to Youtube videos where a chosen question from Reddit is answered by various people. Since I’m a movie blogger, I find Reddit’s movie related questions to be interesting. This served as the inspiration for this list post, where I’ve chosen ten questions and will provide my answers to them. If you’re interested in seeing other answers to these questions, you can type these questions into Youtube’s searchbar and find the videos that way. Now, let’s read what I, as a movie blogger, have to say about some of Reddit’s movie related questions!

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  1. What Movie Was Basically Just an Ad?

As soon as I read this question, I immediately thought of When Calls the Heart: The Greatest Christmas Blessing. Even though the movie is objectively good, it is basically a two-hour commercial for When Hope Calls. For those who are not aware, When Hope Calls is the spin-off series of When Calls the Heart. The film’s main plot serves as the premise for When Hope Calls, giving that show’s protagonists more attention than When Calls the Heart’s series regulars. When I reviewed When Calls the Heart: The Greatest Christmas Blessing three years ago, I said this part of the story should have been a subplot, as it contained little connection to When Calls the Heart’s stories. While one of the spin-off’s protagonists did appear in two of When Calls the Heart’s sixth season episodes, When Hope Calls survived for only one season.

2. What Movie Franchise Should’ve Stopped at 2?

For this question, I’ll say the All of My Heart series and the Christmas at Graceland series. With the All of My Heart series, the third movie should have been the sequel, as the second movie is just that forgettable. If you’ve never seen the All of My Heart movies, skip the second one altogether. Meanwhile, the Christmas at Graceland series should have never received a third film. The third installment, Christmas at Graceland: Home for the Holidays had nothing to do with the previous two stories. While I have never reviewed any of the All of My Heart movies on my blog, I have shared why I don’t like the third Christmas at Graceland movie. You can read my thoughts in my list of the worst movies of 2019.

The Top 10 Worst Movies I saw in 2019

3. What Fact From a Movie Will Change The Way You Look at it?

On several occasions, I’ve talked about the “studio intervention” that affected the production of The Crow: City of Angels. Had I not known that vital piece of information prior to watching the movie, my opinion on the project would have been very different. I also would have never cared whether or not the film’s Tim Pope cut ever got released. But I’m thankful I learned about the “studio intervention” before I saw The Crow: City of Angels, as it gave me an idea of why certain creative decisions were made. If you’d like to learn more about this “studio invention” I’m referring to, you can read my editorial on why the Tim Pope of The Crow: City of Angels should be released.

Why Now is the Perfect Time to Release the Tim Pope Cut of ‘The Crow: City of Angels’

4. What Movies Would Be Great From Another Perspective?

I actually have three answers for this question! From what I remember, Chel was very secretive about her past in The Road to El Dorado. If the movie had been from her perspective, we’d get to learn more about Chel’s backstory as well as the culture within El Dorado. While I love Atlantis: The Lost Empire, I think it would be interesting if it had been from Kida’s perspective. Parts of the story that take place in Atlantis, such as when Kida single-handedly creates Atlantis’ shield barrier, would have had a greater impact. In my review of The Crow, I talked about how the story was presented as a mystery. This made me think about how Vladimir and Dimitri are trying to solve a mystery throughout 1997’s Anastasia. If this movie had been a mystery where the audience has to discover Anya’s true identity alongside Vladimir and Dimitri, that would have been such an interesting and engaging experience!

5. What’s a Sign That a Movie is Going to be Bad?

I’ve heard that if a movie has red font in their title, then the movie is destined to fail. However, I’m not sure how accurate this information is.

Since I mentioned The Road to El Dorado and Atlantis: The Lost Empire in this list, I thought including this picture would be appropriate. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

6. What Movies Released Together are Basically the Same?

I said in my review of 1931’s Dracula that if you’ve seen Nosferatu, you’ve already seen Dracula. Therefore, these are the films I’m choosing for this question. If you’d like to hear my thoughts on both films, I’ll provide the links to them in this list.

Take 3: Nosferatu Review (A Month Without the Code — #1)

Take 3: Dracula (1931) Review + 180 Follower Thank You

7. What Franchise Was Milked/Is Being Milked Too Much?

I have three answers for this question. They are the following:

From 2008 to 2019, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has, for the most part, been a well-executed concept. Each character, story, and film was delivered at a specific time for a specific reason. After the release of Avengers: Endgame, it seems like Disney and Marvel are just desperate to keep their ship afloat. Instead of relying on a pre-created game plan, it feels like they are throwing anything and everything at a wall, in an attempt to find something that sticks. I haven’t seen any of Marvel’s projects post Avengers: Endgame. But based on what I’ve heard, the overall quality is much lower than the studio’s earlier entries.

If you’ve been following my blog, you would know that I stopped watching Hallmark’s Good Witch series after the premiere of Good Witch: Spellbound. Based on what I’ve heard from people who continued to watch the show until its end, the franchise was milked for so long and for so many times, that it strayed far away from its roots. In the first Good Witch movie, Jake’s children, Brandon and Lori, believed Cassie was a witch because strange things happened whenever she was near. But the possibility of Cassie actually being a witch was never alluded to, as the magic in the series had been figurative/intuitive. In the show’s last season, Cassie and her relatives admit they are witches and practice actual magic. What happened to the Good Witch series presents one of the dangers of keeping a particular story around longer than it was welcome.

Hallmark’s Christmas line-ups are the textbook definition of being “too much of a good thing”. While this is a collection of movies, not a franchise, the line-ups have become bigger than they should be. In the early years of ‘Countdown to Christmas’ and ‘Miracles of Christmas’, both of Hallmark’s networks released a limited number of movies. Because there were fewer offerings, it gave the movies an opportunity to possibly become classics. When an actor or actress was announced to star in a Christmas movie from Hallmark, it felt like they were joining an exclusive club. With Hallmark creating so many Christmas movies and showing them year-round, their event is now bloated. I, honestly, have my doubts that Hallmark can continue making these line-ups as highly anticipated as they once were.

8. What Movie are You Surprised That Hasn’t Had a Sequel Yet?

I’m actually surprised 1989’s Steel Magnolias has never received a sequel. It is one of those stories where if you were to revisit these characters and their world now, it would probably work. So much has changed since the theatrical release of Steel Magnolias, so I’d be interested in seeing how the characters live their lives in the 21st century. The sequel could also serve as a reunion with the return of the original movie’s cast.

9. What Plot Twist Made You Shout ‘Bullcrap’?

When I reviewed Yes, I Do three years ago, I said that Charlotte’s chocolate allergy was poorly written to the point of appearing very unrealistic. However, I never got into the specifics of how poorly written this part of the story was. Throughout the movie, Charlotte said she was allergic to chocolate, despite working in a chocolate factory. She claims that when she smells chocolate, she knows whether or not it will taste good. Toward the end of the movie, Charlotte eats a piece of chocolate, discovering her allergy has magically disappeared. Meanwhile, Nicole (Jessica Lowndes’ character), has a strawberry allergy that is written more realistically. She even has a serious reaction after she accidently eats a strawberry flavored piece of chocolate.

10. What Plot Twist Would You Add To a Movie to Mess with the Audience?

It took me a while to figure out what my answer would be for this question. But I’ve chosen Signed, Sealed, Delivered: To the Altar. Toward the end of that movie, Oliver proposes to Shane at Norman and Rita’s wedding reception. What would have made the fans of the series upset is if Oliver had thought about proposing to Shane at the reception, but then changed his mind at the last second, deciding to propose on another date instead. Since it’s been three years since Signed, Sealed, Delivered: To the Altar premiered, fans would have had to wait for any developments in Oliver and Shane’s relationship.

Signed, Sealed, Delivered: To the Altar poster created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. Image found at https://www.crownmediapress.com/Shows/PRShowDetail?SiteID=143&FeedBoxID=845&NodeID=302&ShowType=series&ShowTitle=Signed%2c+Sealed%2c+Delivered+To+the+Altar

What are your thoughts on my list? How would you answer these questions? Tell me in the comment section!

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

There’s Still Time to Submit Your Nomination for the Gold Sally Awards’ Star of the Year!

Award Gold Star Background Illustration
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Hello everyone!

I would just like to remind all of you that April 30th is the last day to submit your nomination for the 2020 Star of the Year! All the details are located at these links:

The moment you’ve all been waiting for; The Gold Sally Award’s Star of the Year Award!

 

Announcing the Gold Sally Awards’ Hallmark Star of the Year!

 

I’m looking forward to seeing who you nominate!

Sally Silverscreen

The moment you’ve all been waiting for; The Gold Sally Award’s Star of the Year Award!

Award Gold Star Background Illustration
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Last year, I introduced the Hallmark Star of the Year Award. This part of the Gold Sally Awards gave my readers, followers, and visitors the opportunity to nominee someone with the Hallmark community. Out of those nominees, I chose one recipient to receive this honor. This year, I’m bringing this award back with two major changes. The nominees will no longer be limited to people associated with Hallmark. You can also nominate movie critics, movie bloggers, and movie related Youtubers. Other than that, the guidelines are still the same as the previous year. If you would like to learn more about those guidelines, you can visit the link to the previous year’s post here:

 

Announcing the Gold Sally Awards’ Hallmark Star of the Year!

 

For this category, I’ll extend the deadline to Thursday, April 30th. Like last year, you can place your nomination in the comment section of this post.

 

Have fun voting!

Sally Silverscreen

Word on the Street: Collider Movie Talk Closes Its Doors, Upcoming February Films for Hallmark Revealed

Who knew I’d be publishing a Word on the Street post this soon into the New Year? In this story, I’ll be talking about two pieces of movie news. The first is about the end of a long-running movie related show. The second story will discuss the new Hallmark films that will likely premiere in February. As I sometimes do, I’ll be sharing my opinion as well as report each piece of news. So, let the first Word on the Street story of 2020 begin!

Closed
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Two days ago, on January 2nd, the entertainment news company, Collider, made an announcement where they indicated big changes for their collection of content. One particular change that caught my attention was the discontinuation of the Youtube show, Collider Movie Talk. The company stated this decision was made to put more emphasis “towards expanding high-quality, scripted, unscripted, and celebrity-driven content”. Other Youtube shows that are also ending are Heroes, Jedi Council, and Collider Live. Personally, I’m not sad to see Collider Movie Talk go. I started watching the show in 2013, when it was known as AMC Movie Talk. For years, I appreciated the existence of a place where news related to movies was the number one priority. But, over time, I found other movie related Youtube channels that I ended up watching more than Collider Movie Talk. I also talk about movie news on 18 Cinema Lane. Some of these stories feature topics that would probably never get covered by Collider. It seems like competition is one of the reasons why Collider Movie Talk is closing their doors.

Sale, Happy Valentine Day lettering with bunch of balloons
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On the twitter amount, Hotline to Hallmark, the February line-up for both Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries were revealed. In two separate tweets, movies from both networks were listed with potential release dates. On the official websites for Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies and Mysteries, synopses and lead actors were featured on their own pages. Here is a list of these films and their premises.

 

February 1stA Valentine’s Match, starring Luke Macfarlane and Bethany Joy Lenz (“Fired from her job as a reality TV host, Natalie returns home for Valentine’s Day, only to find herself running the town festival’s auction with her ex-fiancé thanks to two scheming mothers”.)

 

February 8thMatching Hearts, starring Ryan Paevey and Taylor Cole (“As Valentine’s Day nears, a matchmaker is tasked by her mentor to find a match for an entrepreneur who believes staying single is the key to success”).

 

February 15thThe Secret Ingredient, starring Brendan Penny and Erin Cahill (“Small-town baker, Kelly, gets a big surprise when she is invited to compete on a Valentine’s Day baking show in New York City – and an even bigger surprise when she runs into her ex-fiance”).

 

February 16thDead Over Diamonds: Picture Perfect Mysteries, starring Carlos and Alexa PenaVega (“Photographer Allie and Detective Sam’s investigation into a priceless stolen necklace leads to danger and an unexpected death”).

 

February 22ndLove in Store, starring Jackee Harry, Robert Buckley and Alexandra Breckenridge (“Two rival home shopping hosts are forced together while competing for a promotion. Along the way they find their on-air chemistry kindles an off-air spark”).

 

February 23rdRiddled with Deceit: A Martha’s Vineyard Mystery, starring Jesse Metcalfe and Sarah Lind (“Former detective Jeff Jackson teams up with Dr. Zee Madeiras to track down their friend’s missing emerald brooch, a thief, and also… a murderer”).

 

February 29thBad Date Chronicles, a PixL production from 2017, starring Justin Kelly and Merritt Patterson (“Leigh runs the website “Bad Date Chronicles,” which allows people to anonymously post horrible date experiences”).

 

Out of all the movies to premiere on Hallmark Channel, the two I find the most interesting are The Secret Ingredient and Love in Store. With the first movie, it’s the opposite of the “woman from the city coming back to her small hometown” cliché. This could lend itself to a more creative story. For the second film, I’m wondering what exactly the movie is about. Is it about two real estate agents who have their own reality shows or about people who sell products on QVC or HSN style programs? I’ve noticed with the films from Hallmark Movies & Mysteries that both stories feature fine jewelry. I’m not sure if this is a coincidence or intentional. What disappoints me about this collection of films is that Hallmark doesn’t seem to be creating a Leap Year themed movie. From what I can recall, a movie from this network has never made a film featuring this once every four years celebration. Also, if Hallmark can make Christmas movies almost a year in advance, then why wouldn’t they plan ahead with a Leap Year movie?

 

How do you feel about these pieces of movie news? Are you sad to see Collider Movie Talk end? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

 

Sources for this article are the following:

  • https://collider.com/collider-video-changes/
  • The official websites of Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries (type the title into the search bar)
  • Hotline to Hallmark’s twitter account (type @HotlineHallmark into the search bar)