Pegeen (film)

Pegeen is a 1920 American silent drama film based on the 1915 novel of the same name by Eleanor Hoyt Brainerd.[3][4] It was produced by Vitagraph Studios[2] and directed by David Smith.[2] It stars Bessie Love in the title role. The film is presumed lost.[5]

Still with Bessie Love and Charles Spere
Directed byDavid Smith
Based onPegeen (novel)
by Eleanor Hoyt Brainerd
StarringBessie Love
CinematographyCharles R. Seeling[1]
Release date
  • January 1920 (1920-01)
Running time
5 reels[3]
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent (English intertitles)


Recently widowed Danny O'Neil (Stanley) has the belief that his wife will return to him by way of fire, and sets fire to buildings around town in hope that she will return to him. For her safety, his daughter Pegeen (Love) is sent to live with neighbor. When her father is to be arrested, Pegeen's friend Ezra (McGuire) helps hide her father, who dies shortly thereafter.[2][6]



Reviews for the film were mixed.[9][10][11] Its "worst criticism" is that "it is not a thriller, nor a spectacle. Neither is it a heavy digest of a weighty social or economic problem. It is just a simple story of every day people, told in simple, direct continuity, intelligently and coherently."[6]

Scenes involving a hanging and a shoot-out were recommended for removal when showing the film to family audiences.[12]


  1. Love, Bessie (1977). From Hollywood with Love: An Autobiography of Bessie Love. London: Elm Tree Books. p. 150. OCLC 734075937.
  2. Reid, Janet (February 1920). "Pegeen". Motion Picture Magazine. Vol. 19 no. 1. pp. 41–44, 103.
  3. Cutter, Charles Ammi (January 15, 1920). "Recent Motion Pictures based on Current Literature". Library Journal. p. 72.
  4. Brainerd, Eleanor Hoyt (1915). Pegeen. New York: Century Co. OCLC 9665988.
  5. "Progressive Silent Film List: Pegeen". Silent Era.
  6. "Reviews". Exhibitors Herald. Vol. 9 no. 25. December 13, 1919. pp. 69–70.
  7. "Pegeen". The Moving Picture World. January 17, 1920. p. 464.
  8. "Who's Where". Camera!. Vol. 2 no. 36. December 13, 1919. p. 8.
  9. Quotes from three reviews: "Consensus of Trade Press Reviews". The Moving Picture World. Vol. 44 no. 11. June 12, 1920. p. 1499. well-handled Vitagraph picture. … Saccharine story on a 'Pollyanna' theme. … Pegeen is one of the most charming pictures that ever graced the screen.
  10. "Digest of Pictures of the Week". Exhibitors Herald. Vol. 9 no. 25. December 13, 1919. p. 68. … qualifies as good every-day entertainment, the sort of entertainment that must be provided for every exhibitor. Bessie Love is the star, and she takes full advantage of a role fashioned after the model with which her name has come to be associated.
  11. Quotes from negative reviews:
    • Walton, T.E. (April 3, 1920). "What the Picture Did for Me". Exhibitors Herald. p. 75. This picture positively the worst I ever had. Nothing to it. People walked out on it telling me I never ought to pay for such a picture.
    • Brenner, W.H. (April 9, 1921). "Vitagraph". Exhibitors Herald. Vol. 12 no. 15. p. 75. A terrible picture.
    • Howe, Herbert (March 1920). "Concerning Invisible Stars". Picture-Play Magazine. Vol. 12 no. 1. p. 96. Pegeen has about as much plot as a travelogue.
  12. "New Instructional Films and Where to Get Them". Moving Picture Age. Vol. 3 no. 3. March 1920. p. 38.

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