Girl Who Ran Wild (1922)

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Universal's Gladys Walton and her director, Rupert Julian, took on M'Liss, Bret Harte's 1863 tale of the taming of an unbridled mountain girl, and the result was plodding silent melodrama. The story had already been tackled by Barbara Tennant back in 1915 and, rather more memorably, by Mary Pickford two years later. No one had forgotten the Pickford version, and Universal hedged their bets by changing the title to The Girl Who Ran Wild. Orphaned when her father (Marc Robbins) is killed, the wild M'Liss takes up with the wrong crowd. Until, that is, she meets Vernon Steele, the handsome new schoolmaster who manages to clean her up and send her to school. But when the academician seems to be paying more attention to another girl (Lucille Ricksen), M'Liss runs off with the nasty Jack Velvet (Lloyd Whitlock. The schoolmaster catches up with the pair and proves his love for M'Liss in a climactic fight with the villain. Amazingly, the hoary story was given a fourth go-around by RKO in 1936 starring the more age-appropriate Anne Shirley. A live television version premiered in 1952.



forbidden-love, loneliness, schoolteacher