Amarilly of Clothesline Alley (1918)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Comedy of Manners, Romantic Comedy  |   Run Time - 97 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
  • AllMovie Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

Share on

Synopsis by Hans J. Wollstein

Coming as it did on the heels of what many consider to be Mary Pickford's greatest triumph, Stella Maris (1918), this film seemed almost too lightweight in comparison. The situation -- a poor girl's introduction to High Society -- was already old hat in 1918, but luckily, the star and her director, Marshall Neilan, made what could have been a poor imitation of Pygmalion into one of the best social satires of the era. Amarilly Jenkins is a beloved Lower East Side urchin by day and no-nonsense cigarette girl at the tough Cyclone Café -- an establishment complete with prostitutes and leering "Johns" -- by night. She is in love with bartender Terry (William Scott), but when society sculptor Gordon Phillips (the grandly mustachioed Norman Kerry) is beaten up in a brawl, Amarilly brings the young man home to her mother, an Irish laundrywoman (Kate Price). Gordon's own mother, Mrs. Stuyvesant Phillips (Ida Waterman) of the Park Avenue Stuyvesant Phillipses, looks upon Amarilly as an interesting social experiment, inviting the girl to stay at their palatial home. The dowager, however, is alarmed when Gordon falls in love with Amarilly. To prove a point, Gordon's mother invites Mrs. Jenkins to tea with the Phillips family, and Amarilly's Irish immigrant mother doesn't disappoint, entertaining the assembly by dancing an impromptu jig with the family butler. The haughty Mrs. Phillips might have avoided this spectacle had she only known that both Amarilly and Gordon had long ago realized that they were wrong for each other. Having wryly observed how the other half lived, Amarilly returns happily to her bartender in Clothes-Line Alley.



bartender, class-consciousness, class-system, high-society, prostitute/prostitution