Unwilling Hero (1921)

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Although he wouldn't find his true place in motion pictures until the talkie era, humorist Will Rogers certainly made a lot of films during the early '20s. Here he brings his down-to-earth persona to an O. Henry story, Whistling Dick's Christmas Stocking. Whistling Dick is a hobo who loves life and classical music; in fact, he loves everything except work. He travels south to New Orleans for the winter and finds out that some of his fellow tramps are planning to rob a plantation on Christmas night. He is befriended by Nadine (Molly Malone), the daughter of Lovejoy, the plantation owner (Edward M. Kimball). Nadine has two suitors, Hunter, an overseer (John Bowers), and Richmond (Darrel Foss), who is broke and in league with the tramps, which Dick finds out. The tramps, afraid that Dick will give the plan away, capture him, but he manages to write a note and put it in a stocking with a rock. This he tosses through the Lovejoy's dining room window. The bad guys are captured and Dick becomes a guest at the Lovejoys'. They are more than happy to offer him steady employment on the plantation, which inspires him to leave at his earliest convenience.

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daughter, hero, independence, laziness, robbery, vagabond