Film Review and Rating / Synopsis

(Please note the films reviewed on this site contain plot summaries and may contain SPOILERS.)
  • Hoodoo Ann (1916) - Plot Summary - Teenage Hoodoo Ann (Mae Marsh), living at an orphanage since babyhood when she was left there one Friday the 13th (a rather odd orphanage, actually, as ALL the boys are about eleven years old - and ALL the girls are about 17+ - hmmm). Poor Ann is extremely disliked by everyone at the orphanage (the reason why is never really explained, other than that she is "hoodooed") so while she is working as a slavey in the kitchen, the other girls are out playing on a slide in the school playground. When Ann tries to join in the fun, none of the girls will let her. The only person who seems to even tolerate her is the housemaid "Black Cindy" who reads Ann's palm and tells her the hoodoo will end with marriage - hmmm. Anyway, Ann takes the doll of the favored girl of the orphanage, Goldie, which she ends up accidently breaking, so then lies about the doll's disappearance. Meanwhile, a bad boy at school steals some matches and ends up setting the whole orphanage on fire. Ann ends up rescueing beloved Goldie from the flames, and amazingly, gets herself adopted by an older couple down the street who happen to be riding by at the time of the fire - and happen to have lost their own daughter. Ann now becomes a fashion plate using Vogue as her guide - and wearing some rather outlandish outfits! Then we get into a romance for Ann, who meets boy-next-door Jimmy (Bobby Harron), a young artist/cartoonist. Jimmy and Ann go to the moving picture show where they see this really hokey Western starring that famous "Pansy Thorne" - and Ann, impressed by Pansy's performance, attempts to imitate it at home - using a real gun! Well, the gun goes off, a neighbor disappears, and Ann lies again. Oh dear.

    Review - Anyway, I thought the scene where they are at the movie went on a bit too long with the "film inside a film". I also find Ann to be a bit of an annoying character - she always, for some reason, looks like she's about to cry, she lies a lot, and is just sort of a drag (I can almost see why she's so disliked at first). I do think this is a reasonably good film though - not great, but interesting to see. Well, I am a big fan of Mary Pickford, and I really think this film would have been better with Mary in the part - she would have been able to pull off just the right amount of charm to make Hoodoo Ann a more likeable character. The DVD I watched of this was from Unknown Video, and features a good-looking print - just a little bit washed out here and there, a little bit of speckling here and there - but I was very pleased with the quality as a whole. It includes some nice organ music by Bob Vaughn that matches the film well. (Note: The DVD also includes two G.M. "Broncho Billy" Anderson one-reelers - the first is "The Making of Broncho Billy (1913)", which isn't really very good, and features a fuzzy-looking print. The second, "Broncho Billy and the Greaser (1914)" has a better story, and a better-looking print too.) Rating - * 7.5 TO 8/10 stars *

    Director: Lloyd Ingraham
    Film Genre: Coming of Age / Romantic Comedy
    Film Runtime: 65 minutes



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RATINGS KEY:

10 = Absolutely Fabulous/Superb
9 = Really Good/Excellent
8 = Good
7 = Fairly Good/Decent
6 = So-so, some flaws
5 = Mediocre
4 = Not that good, many flaws
3 = Poor
2 = Very Poor/Stinker
1 = One of the worst BOMBS ever filmed




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