Volume 2: Filmography

 

THE SPOILED DARLING'S DOLL

 

April 4, 1913 (Friday)

Length: 1 reel

Character: Drama

Cast: Marie Eline (the Spoiled Darling); Helen Badgley (the Spoiled Darling's Doll); David H. Thompson (the father)

Notes: 1. This was the film referred to in an article by Thomas Fulbright in the Fall-Winter 1969 issue of Classic Film Collector, in which he reported information gained from Gerald Badgley, father of young Helen Badgley. Fulbright wrote: Among Helen's first pictures was Spoiled Darling's Doll, and she stole the show from the very famous Thanhouser Kid.… The title speaks for the plot. But Mr. Badgley did fill me in a bit, and it sounds a great deal like the much, much later Shirley Temple - Jane Withers appearance together, Spoiled Darling. The Thanhouser Kid shamefully mistreated her 'doll,' The Thanhouser Kidlet. One day in a fit of temper she threw the 'doll' to the floor, whereupon the 'doll' started speaking: 'Why do you treat me so badly?' Well, we did laugh, and I am sorry to report it rather threw Mr. Badgley off his stream of thought, and we will all have to guess at the remainder of the story. I am sure none of us will have any extreme difficulty in doing so. I would love to see it, however. I am happy to be able to include two stills from Spoiled Darling's Doll, and one can see that Helen did look like a very precious little 'doll.' 2. The idea of a doll being portrayed on the screen by a young child, and coming to life, was used earlier in Thanhouser films, with Delightful Dolly, released on October 14, 1910, being an example.

 

SYNOPSIS, The Moving Picture World, April 5, 1913:

Her parents said she was a darling. The long suffering servants thought otherwise. From the time that she could first crawl and talk she had had her own way. Her nurse did not like her. The little girl never obeyed, but always argued and protested. She smashed her toys, tore her clothes, and screamed so her sick mother took a turn for the worst. Her parents, however, were satisfied she would outgrow her unpleasant habits, and sure enough she did. One evening the nurse rushed into her room, attracted by the cries of the child. She had tumbled out of bed, but strange to say she was not peevish. She apologized to the nurse for causing any trouble and altogether was so sweet that the nurse was convinced the child was seriously ill. Her father questioned her, and the little one told him of the remarkable conduct of her newest and biggest doll. It seems that the doll came to life, treated the little girl as she had treated her nurse, made life a misery to her and taught her that selfish people cause much unnecessary suffering. So the little girl firmly decided to be good in the future. What did the family do? Well, the mother wept and said that she feared her darling was too good to live. The doll really knew what had happened, but she never said a word. It is hard to get dolls to talk, even though they have been known to wink when pleased.

 

REVIEW, The Moving Picture World, April 12, 1913:

This is another triumph for those delightful Thanhouser Kids, who bring the simple children's story out in clever style. The one who plays the doll must indeed be a born little actress, as she is certainly not more than two or three years old. A remarkably attractive film for women and children in particular.

 

REVIEW, The New York Dramatic Mirror, April 9, 1913:

Both the Darling and the Doll are exceptionally clever and interesting children, and the fact that this picture chiefly concerns itself with them and possesses an odd little moral story, for youngsters particularly, assures success. There are those, perhaps, who have experienced just such a dream as comes to the child in this picture, and to these the film will be of particular interest. She is a naughty, spoiled child, this little daughter, but a dream, wherein her doll comes to life and plays the pampered child, completely regenerates her.

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Copyright © 1995 Q. David Bowers. All Rights Reserved.