The Mollycoddle (1920)

Not Rated   |    |  Adventure, Comedy, Romance


The Mollycoddle (1920) Poster

An American who has lived much of his life outside the country returns to Arizona for the first time in years and encounters villainy.


6.6/10
123

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  • Douglas Fairbanks and Ruth Renick in The Mollycoddle (1920)
  • Wallace Beery and Douglas Fairbanks in The Mollycoddle (1920)
  • Douglas Fairbanks and Ruth Renick in The Mollycoddle (1920)
  • Douglas Fairbanks and Ruth Renick in The Mollycoddle (1920)
  • Douglas Fairbanks in The Mollycoddle (1920)
  • Douglas Fairbanks in The Mollycoddle (1920)

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User Reviews


9 July 2005 | Cineanalyst
7
| Rousing Good Time
This is one of only two silent films directed by Victor Fleming and starring Douglas Fairbanks, but Fleming had worked as a cinematographer on many of Fairbanks's earlier comedies. The storyline here is similar to most of the other films Fairbanks made before switching to adventure swashbucklers with "The Mark of Zorro" (1920). "The Mollycoddle", however, is distinguished by polished film-making.

An introduction sets up Fairbanks's character's great Western heritage, only to find Fairbanks a mollycoddle--an expatriated dandy, who imagines Wall Street to be terrorized by cowboy gunfights. From there, Fairbanks must get back to his roots, defeat the bad guys and live happily ever after with the female lead. Fairbanks brought his usual boyish charm to the part and performed plenty of acrobatic stunts. Actually, I think, when done well, these modern comedies somewhat highlighted his talents better than did the later swashbucklers, as he's not overshadowed by a lavish production. Wallace Berry, a decade before his more prominent parts, played the role of the villain here and demonstrated that he was always a fine actor.

Surprisingly, an animation sequence reveals to us early in the film that Berry's character is secretly a jewel smuggler. It's no great feat in animation in itself, but its placement is remarkable for 1920. A rotating camera to represent Fairbanks's sickness in one scene, in addition to the apparent use of a small-scale model, transitioning between supposed establishing shots and closer looks, during the climax are other examples of the film-making ingenuity for this Fairbanks vehicle. It's interesting to see how much refinement in movie-making had occurred from, say, 1916 (when Fairbanks starred in "Flirting with Fate", among other films) to 1920. It was an exciting period of rapid development for the art. Another surprise in "The Mollycoddle" is the comparatively respectful depiction of the Hopi Indians; usually for a film made in 1920 (or for years afterward), the least one may reasonably hope for is to not have Caucasians playing Native-Americans. Overall, Fleming and crew did well to support Fairbanks in making a film permitting of a rousing good time.

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Genres

Adventure | Comedy | Romance

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