The Poor Little Rich Girl

The Poor Little Rich Girl is a 1917 American comedy-drama film directed by Maurice Tourneur. Adapted by Frances Marion from the 1913 play by Eleanor Gates.[1] The Broadway play actually starred future screen actress Viola Dana.[2] The film stars Mary Pickford, Madlaine Traverse, Charles Wellesley, Gladys Fairbanks (returning from the play) and Frank McGlynn Sr.

The Poor Little Rich Girl
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Directed byMaurice Tourneur
Produced byAdolph Zukor
Written byFrances Marion
StarringMary Pickford
Madlaine Traverse
Charles Wellesley
Gladys Fairbanks
CinematographyLucien Andriot
John van den Broek
Distributed byArtcraft Pictures Corporation
Release date
  • March 5, 1917 (1917-03-05)
Running time
65 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent film
English intertitles

The film was shot in Fort Lee, New Jersey when early film studios in America's first motion picture industry were based there at the beginning of the 20th century.[3][4][5] In 1991, The Poor Little Rich Girl was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.


Gwendolyn is an 11-year-old girl who is left by her rich and busy parents to the care of unsympathetic domestic workers at the family's mansion. Her mother is only interested in her social life and her father has serious financial problems and is even contemplating suicide. When she manages to have some good time with an organ-grinder or a plumber, or have a mud-fight with street boys, she is rapidly brought back on the right track. One day, she becomes sick because the maid has given her an extra dose of sleeping medicine to be able to go out. She then becomes delirious and starts seeing an imaginary world inspired by people and things around her; the Garden of Lonely Children in the Tell-Tale forest. Her conditions worsen and Death tries to lure her to eternal rest. But Life also appears to her and finally wins.[6]


See also


  1. The Poor Little Rich Girl as presented on Broadway at the Hudson Theatre January 21, 1913 to June 1913;
  2. Pictorial History of the American Theatre: 1860–1970, pp. 139–140 3rd Edit. enlarged and revised by John Willis, c. 1970
  3. Koszarski, Richard (2004), Fort Lee: The Film Town, Rome, Italy: John Libbey Publishing -CIC srl, ISBN 0-86196-653-8
  4. "Studios and Films". Fort Lee Film Commission. Retrieved 2011-05-30.
  5. Fort Lee Film Commission (2006), Fort Lee Birthplace of the Motion Picture Industry, Arcadia Publishing, ISBN 0-7385-4501-5
  6. Review, synopsis and link to watch the film "A cinema history". 1917. Retrieved 6 June 2014.

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