Alligators literally snapping at the feet of a distressed movie star carrying a REAL LIFE BABY for the sake of a movie shoot? No way! There are laws against that sort of thing- rules, regulations, lawyers with dollar signs in their eyes. That’s what Mary Pickford braved for the 1926 film, Sparrows
, forced to share the set with alligators by the director against her protests for the safety of the child.
If the whole situation seems a little overdramatic even for old Hollywood, you might be picking up on the fact that this story has only been told in this way by the star herself and has been denied by all other crew members associated with the project. So I might have suckered you in a bit. Sorry, this post is about silent film and I wanted all you “blockbuster only” haters to get far enough into the intro to feel committed. You’re here now. Stick with me.
Mary Pickford’s Sparrows
will be playing at the Earl Smith Strand Theatre on the Marietta Square with live organ accompaniment by Ron Carter. That means not only do you get to sit in a theatre that was built just a few years after the movie came out, but you get to experience the movie like a patron of 1926 would: with live music by a dude sitting at a theatre organ at the bottom of the screen. The Strand is the ONLY theatre in Georgia that presents an annual silent film series with live theatre organ accompaniment. And it’s in Marietta. How special!
In case the novelty of it all didn’t sell you on this, here is the breakdown of the story of Sparrows. Molly is a 16 year old girl charged with taking care of something like a million children, I kid you not here, on a “baby farm” that a mean old man runs; baby farm like children work the fields, not like children grow from them. And where is this baby farm located? Next to an alligator infested swamp of course! Although you might assume from this premise that nothing but hijinks would ensue, the story is actually quite heart wrenching. Molly tries to keep the spirits of the children alive as their situation worsens and eventually plans a daring escape in an action scene where Indiana Jones himself might have a hard time keeping up. Sparrows
is going to be playing on January 29th at the Earl Smith Strand Theatre
at 3pm. This movie is guaranteed to have you gasping at the action and thanking the heavens that you live in modern times, far away from the baby farms and snapping alligator stunts of yore.