Friday, January 15, 2010

More orphans

In writing about Journey For Margaret yesterday, I realized that there are quite a few movies about orphans. I've recommended several of them already, with a few others deserving mention as well.

Orphans on film go back at least to the silent days, with the Gish sisters playing a pair of orphans in Orphans of the Storm. There are also foundlings (and children kidnapped from their parents, although that's a completely different matter) in the excellent Mary Pickford silent Sparrows

Outlaws get into the orphan racket in the multiple versions of Three Godfathers, a Christmas-themed movie in which three outlaws on the run in the old west gain custoday of an orphan baby, and then decide to do the right thing. Tugging at the viewers' heartstrings is a common theme with Christmas movies, and orphans are a good way to tug at people's heartstrings. The two are combined in All Mine to Give, in which six pioneer kids become orphans in the Christmas season, with the eldest wanting to make certain the younger kids all get good homes. Since it's a Christmas movie, it's not currently on the TCM schedule, but it is available on DVD.

Foundlings may or may not be orphans, but glossing over the parents' deaths is a better idea if you want a comedy movie. Tom Jones was a foundling, as the title of the original Henry Fielding book says. There's also Bachelor Mother, in which Ginger Rogers plays a shop-girl who winds up with a foundling through no fault of her own. (The movie was remade in the 1950s as Bundle of Joy).

Finally, one of the most famous orphans is Little Orphan Annie, who came to the screen in the early 1980s.

Who's your favorite movie orphan?

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