Synopsis by Mark Deming
Mary Pickford was at the height of her fame as "America's Sweetheart" when she took on the challenge of playing two roles -- a mother and her young son -- in this silent drama with comic accents. Cedric Fauntleroy (Pickford) is growing up under difficult circumstances in New York City; his father was the son of the Earl of Dorincourt (Claude Gillingwater Sr.), but he has passed on, and since the Earl never approved of Cedric's mother Dearest (also played by Pickford), whom he felt was only after his son's money, the Earl severed all ties with his daughter-in-law and grandson. However, the Earl discovers that he's in poor health, and he realizes that Cedric is the logical heir to his estate; hoping to mend fences, the Earl has Cedric brought back to England to live with him. However, while Dearest is allowed to come along, she is not allowed to stay at the Earl's estate with her son, as he has yet to forgive her. In time, another boy appears at the Earl's doorstep claiming that he is the rightful heir to the Earl's fortune and that Cedric is merely an imposter; it takes some quick thinking by Cedric, Dearest, and their friends to save the day. Little Lord Fauntleroy was photographed by Charles Rosher Sr., one of the most accomplished cinematographers of the silent era; he planned and executed the film's most famous shot, an elaborate double exposure in which Pickford as Dearest kisses Pickford as Cedric; lasting only three seconds onscreen, the shot took 15 hours to set up and shoot.
grandfather, heir, impostor, inheritance, mother, son