Sis Hopkins (1919)

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Samuel Goldwyn took full advantage of Mabel Normand's past history with Mack Sennett when he signed her to his company -- Normand cranked out truckloads of subpar features for Goldwyn, who advertised nearly every one as Normand's return to Keystone-style comedy. Sis Hopkins, based on a stage play by Rose Melville, is one of the better ones, although its reliance on exterior scenes hints at cost-cutting. Sis (Normand) is an eccentric young girl in a small rural village. While most around Sis view her as a joke, she is loved by Ridy Scarboro (John Bowers), the clerk at the general store. One day Sis's dog knocks an oil can into the Hopkins well and when wealthy old Vibert (Sam deGrasse) tastes the water, he believes the Hopkins have an oil strike. He immediately takes an interest in Sis, and is determined to first educate and then marry her, thus obtaining the strike. He sends Sis to boarding school, but she turns the place upside down. Vibert realizes that perhaps Sis isn't capable of becoming a lady, so he decides instead to buy the land. Sis and Ridy then discover why Vibert has taken such an interest in the Hopkins' affairs, so they convince Pa Hopkins (Thomas Jefferson) to up the price of the property. He does, and in the end, Vibert pays a small fortune for a worthless piece of land.