The New York Hat (1912)

Not Rated   |    |  Short, Drama

The New York Hat (1912) Poster

The young village minister was not quite as discreet as he might have been in fulfilling the strange trust left by the dying mother, but it certainly worked for the common good. By the ... See full summary »

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  • The New York Hat (1912)
  • The New York Hat (1912)
  • The New York Hat (1912)
  • The New York Hat (1912)
  • The New York Hat (1912)
  • Claire McDowell and Mary Pickford in The New York Hat (1912)

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews

23 July 2008 | Steffi_P
| "An unexpected trust"
This competent Biograph short is probably best-known for being the screen writing debut of the acclaimed Anita Loos. It's also incredibly well acted and directed with confidence by DW Griffith.

As well as being her last, this is perhaps the best performance by Mary Pickford in a Biograph short. You can see why she would later soar to superstardom by playing young girls. Here, at twenty, she plays what we would assume is a girl in her mid-teens, and looks more convincingly that age than when she first worked for Griffith at sixteen. She had a real gift for portraying innocence. Griffith makes the most of her abilities and moves the camera in close on her face at key moments.

It's also nice to see Lionel Barrymore in a lead role. Although he was an established stage actor, on the screen he really had yet to prove himself in anything other than a series of somewhat silly character parts. In the New York Hat however he shows himself to be a fine screen player, playing the preacher with subtlety and dignity. He too gets the full benefit of Griffith's camera.

You get the feeling that by now Griffith could do this sort of drama standing on his head. The easy movement between standard three-quarter shot and mid-shot is by now totally natural. But really, this is Pickford, Barrymore and, of course Loos' show, and for the most part Griffith just sits back and lets them get on with it.

Loos has written a strong story, although in many ways this is very typical Biograph fare, so I assume she was deliberately trying to write something in the Biograph style. Still it makes for an entertaining little film, and fortunately it was highly regarded enough to have been given two superb and well-cast leads.

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Plot Summary


Short | Drama

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