Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall (1924)

Sub-Genres - Parody/Spoof  |   Run Time - 106 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Janiss Garza

"Derr iss too many qveens and not enough qveens!" That was Ernst Lubitsch's response when he turned down the directing assignment for this costume picture starring Mary Pickford. Pickford assumed that he meant that the subplots involving Queen Elizabeth (Clare Eames) and Mary Queen of Scots (Estelle Taylor) overshadowed the title character. Instead, Lubitsch agreed to do Rosita with the star, who still made Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall with Marshall Neilan directing. Neilan, however, was often absent during the filming (stories of his uncontrolled drinking were rampant throughout most of the 1920s), and Pickford directed a number of scenes herself. Unlike the children's roles for which she was most popular, Pickford's Dorothy Vernon is a grown-up young lady of 18 (keep in mind that "little Mary" herself was 32). Ever since childhood, Dorothy has been betrothed to Sir John Manners (Allan Forrest, who happened to be the husband of Pickford's sister, Lottie, who also had a small role in the film). But when Sir John does not arrive in time for the wedding, Dorothy's father, Sir George (Anders Randolf), insists that she marry her cousin, Sir Malcolm Vernon (Marc MacDermott). The feisty Dorothy blows up at this news and a battle of wills between her and Sir George ensues. Sir John, meanwhile, has brought Mary, Queen of Scotts to Rutland. At the forced wedding, with Queen Elizabeth in attendance, Dorothy reveals Mary's presence, which gets both the Scottish queen and Sir John arrested. Dorothy goes to rescue Sir John and discovers a plot by Sir Malcolm to place the Scottish Mary on the throne. Although Queen Elizabeth refuses to believe Dorothy, she and Sir John still manage to save her from being assassinated by Sir Malcolm. Sir John is ordered to be exiled to Wales for a year and Dorothy goes with him. This was not one of the better costume pictures of the era, and Pickford wisely returned to her little girl persona for her next picture, Little Annie Rooney.



aristocracy, assassination, daughter, love, marriage, marriage-arranged, rescue, romance