27 February 2013 | drednm
Wonderful May Robson
May Robson stars as Mary Jane Baxter, the world's richest woman. She's a mean old thing, cantankerous, demanding, and she loves only her dog. Her snarky family is trying to have her declared insane so they can get her money. She's an eccentric who always wears a long thick veil.
One day while riding in her carriage, she collides with a car and the carriage is overturned enough for Mary Jane to fall out. The horses bolt, leaving the old lady lying in the road.
Along comes a jalopy. The kids carry the old lady back to their house. The little kid is called "Doc" and he tends to her wounds. Meanwhile the stupid police believe Mary Jane Baxter has been kidnapped.
At first Mary Jane is confused and yells and screams at everyone but eventually she regains her memory and warms to the bizarre tenement household where she decides to hide out from her family, But then she is really kidnapped by gangsters.
May Robson is just plain superb in this little film, completely believable as the eccentric millionaire and just as believable as the old lady whose heart is melted by the troubled kid. Other pleasures of this film include major supporting parts for two great character actors: Henry Armetta as Tony the barber who has taken in the kids as his own, and Herman Bing as the Hungarian neighbor. Like Robson, they are a joy to watch.
Frankie Darro is 18 here and sweet on Tony's daughter, played by Charlotte Henry (already in her 20s, but playing younger. Doc is played by Billy Burrud (later the host of many animal shows on TV), and Billy Benedict plays the gangly Flash.
Others in the cast include John Miljan as the lead gangster, Henry Kolker as the crooked lawyer, Ward Bond as a cop, Lillian Harmer as the whiny maid, and Hedda Hopper as Mrs. Cummings. Lots of other familiar faces like Ferdinand Gottschalk, Noel Madison, Tom Dugan, Irving Pichel, Hale Hamilton, E.E. Clive, Barbara Bedford, Jonathan Hale, and George Irving as the judge.
A good old-fashioned film with lots of sentiment and great performances. This was remade in 1946 as LITTLE MISS BIG with the tenement characters all Irish.