The tenements are home to an international community, including the friends and family of a tough young ragamuffin named Annie Rooney, but their neighborhood may be threatened by a dangerous street gang.
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Mary Pickford was in her early 30s and wanted to play more adult roles, but her two previous films, Rosita (1923) and Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall (1924), had been box office disappointments. Through an interview in Photoplay magazine she asked her fans what roles they would like to see her play. She received 20,000 replies, with suggestions like "Anne of Green Gables", "Heidi", and "Alice in Wonderland". Her audience was still clamoring to see her in young girl roles, despite her age. The idea for the story came to Pickford as she was walking though a vacant city set on a studio lot - a tough girls from the streets. She chose the 1889 music hall song "Little Annie Rooney" as the basis for her character. The tune was popular at the time and would go on to spawn a long-running (1927-1966) comic strip of the same title, and the animated short Little Annie Rooney (1931). See more »
When the kids decide to put on a play, there's a close-up of the title on the sign: "The Sheriff and His Faithful Horse." But then in long shot, it reads, "Deadeye Dick and His Horse." See more »
Up town a gang calls itself 'Society' - down town a gang calls itself a 'Gang' and lets it go at that - LET'S GO DOWN TOWN!
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The print shown on Turner Classic Movies prior to October 4, 2016 was a restored version (by Karl Malkames) copyrighted in 1976 by Killiam Shows, Inc. and distributed by Blackhawk Films. It had an original piano score by William Perry and ran 94 minutes. See more »
While there is not much to "Little Annie Rooney" aside from the way that it showcases Mary Pickford's many talents, that's not a bad focus for a movie to have. The story does seem to be planned almost entirely with that goal in mind, as most of the other characters are not developed very much, and most of the plot likewise comes back to the ways that events affect Annie. Of course, Pickford is more than up to carrying the load, and while this picture has to rank a little lower than a good number of her other movies that have more depth to them, it's still worthwhile.
Through the course of the story, Annie finds herself in numerous kinds of situations, and several sides of her character come out. She has a tomboyish, boisterous side, yet she can plead with her father on behalf of a misunderstood friend. The scene where she prepares her father's birthday party could very easily have become unbearably cloying or melodramatic, yet she handles it very well, making use of the best possibilities available rather than resorting to cheap sentiment. (In that particular scene, a couple of creative camera shots also help it to work.)
There are very few actresses, especially in the present, who could make so many different things work believably and without undue emoting. While much of the movie is simple and sometimes even a bit contrived, It's still worth seeing as one of many chances to see such a fine actress at work.
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