The Broken Doll (1910)

Western, Drama | 17 October 1910

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HISTORY

The U.S. Library of Congress catalog gives the following description: “An unsolicited kindness by a white girl toward an Indian girl saves the lives of the white settlers. Members of an Indian tribe come to the settlement to buy food and find the white settlers unfriendly. An Indian is killed, and the Indians plan to attack the settlement. But the little Indian girl, who has been given a doll by the white girl, runs to her friend and warns her of the uprising. The settlers are able to prepare themselves, and they beat off the Indians. The Indian girl is wounded during the attack and, as the film ends, she slowly and painfully makes her way back to the doll she had been given.”
       The 29 Oct 1910 Moving Picture World ran the following review: “The usual thing, but dished up with a dainty flavoring and artistic touches that whets the appetite for more of the same kind. Who would imagine that a film bearing such an innocent title would contain all the glamour of the wildest west, with bloodthirsty redskin bucks, dusky squaws, war dances, murder and pillage? It is all there to thrill the gallery gods; but, unusual thing, through it all runs a thread of human sympathy, delineated by the cleverest of child actresses and appealing to the sentiments of the most intelligent audience. The story is strong in its simplicity and has been handled with great dramatic power. It tells of a frontier settlement that was saved from annihilation by the gift of a doll which won the affection of an Indian child. Resenting the ill-treatment she received from the members of the ... More Less

The U.S. Library of Congress catalog gives the following description: “An unsolicited kindness by a white girl toward an Indian girl saves the lives of the white settlers. Members of an Indian tribe come to the settlement to buy food and find the white settlers unfriendly. An Indian is killed, and the Indians plan to attack the settlement. But the little Indian girl, who has been given a doll by the white girl, runs to her friend and warns her of the uprising. The settlers are able to prepare themselves, and they beat off the Indians. The Indian girl is wounded during the attack and, as the film ends, she slowly and painfully makes her way back to the doll she had been given.”
       The 29 Oct 1910 Moving Picture World ran the following review: “The usual thing, but dished up with a dainty flavoring and artistic touches that whets the appetite for more of the same kind. Who would imagine that a film bearing such an innocent title would contain all the glamour of the wildest west, with bloodthirsty redskin bucks, dusky squaws, war dances, murder and pillage? It is all there to thrill the gallery gods; but, unusual thing, through it all runs a thread of human sympathy, delineated by the cleverest of child actresses and appealing to the sentiments of the most intelligent audience. The story is strong in its simplicity and has been handled with great dramatic power. It tells of a frontier settlement that was saved from annihilation by the gift of a doll which won the affection of an Indian child. Resenting the ill-treatment she received from the members of the tribe, the Indian child warns her friends in time of a hostile attack. She is mortally wounded by a stray shot during the conflict and as she lies down to die beside the grave she had prepared for the doll which had been destroyed by a cruel Indian, one cannot restrain a feeling of exultation that she has passed beyond the cruel life she was compelled to lead. All through the piece the acting is convincing and the realism of some of the scenes is impressive. It is a film which will please any audience.”
       The 1 Nov 1910 Nickelodeon provided this review: “The star role of this drama is taken by a girl tragedy queen, whose years appear to be less than seven; right well she takes hold of the part, too, projecting with great sincerity and considerable skill the qualities of heroism and self-sacrifice. Her rites over the broken doll, and later her own lonely death, are truly pathetic. As an Indian girl, however, she is not very convincing, being too palpably the offspring of a gentler race. Scenically the film is fully up to the Biograph standard, the admirable location of the Indian camp, and the burning of the settler’s cabin deserving special mention; also the good stage-managing of the battle in the village.” More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
BIOB2
p. 239.
BPL
pp. 130-131.
EMP
p. 37.
LCMP
p. 8, column 2.
LCPP
p. 171.
Moving Picture News
29 Oct 1910
p. 15tr.
Moving Picture News
3 Dec 1910
p. 25tl.
Moving Picture World
22 Oct 1910
p. 942ts, 948tl.
Moving Picture World
29 Oct 1910
p. 994tr.
NFAC3
p. 170.
Nickelodeon
15 Oct 1910
p. 230.
Nickelodeon
1 Nov 1910
p. 251.
The Daily Worker
p. 93.
Treasures from the Film Archives
p. 264.
Variety
22 Oct 1910
tr.
DETAILS
Release Date:
17 October 1910
Copyright Claimant:
Biograph Co.
Copyright Date:
19 October 1910
Copyright Number:
J146623
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Length(in feet):
997
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

“Joe Stevens came out west to court fortune prospecting in the mountains. He has met with more than fair success and writes his wife that she might join him as soon as she could. Wishing to surprise him, she and their child appear before him unannounced. On the day of her arrival a party of Indians from a reservation nearby visit the village to procure supplies. Among them is a little Indian girl, who, being an unfavored child, is very roughly treated by her mother. The poor tot has never known a kind word or attention. Approaching the cabin of Stevens, the little Indian beholds Joe’s child playing with a very pretty doll. The doll fascinates the Indian girl and Mrs. Stevens persuades her daughter to give it to her. This act of kindness, the first the poor little child has ever experienced, so overwhelms her with gratitude that she is at a loss to know how to express it. However, her little heart pulsates with a new energy, and she leaves her new found friends all aglow with thanks. Meanwhile, the Indians have been making a round of the stores and one of them is assassinated by a drunken rowdy. The Indians, vowing vengeance, return to the reservation with the lifeless brave. A council of war is held, during which the little one appears with the doll in her arms. One of the Indians seizes this effigy of a while baby and hurls it over the bank, and when the girl climbs down and regains it she finds it hopelessly broken. Heart-crushed, the little one buries it in true Indian fashion, and as she is prostrate before the ... +


“Joe Stevens came out west to court fortune prospecting in the mountains. He has met with more than fair success and writes his wife that she might join him as soon as she could. Wishing to surprise him, she and their child appear before him unannounced. On the day of her arrival a party of Indians from a reservation nearby visit the village to procure supplies. Among them is a little Indian girl, who, being an unfavored child, is very roughly treated by her mother. The poor tot has never known a kind word or attention. Approaching the cabin of Stevens, the little Indian beholds Joe’s child playing with a very pretty doll. The doll fascinates the Indian girl and Mrs. Stevens persuades her daughter to give it to her. This act of kindness, the first the poor little child has ever experienced, so overwhelms her with gratitude that she is at a loss to know how to express it. However, her little heart pulsates with a new energy, and she leaves her new found friends all aglow with thanks. Meanwhile, the Indians have been making a round of the stores and one of them is assassinated by a drunken rowdy. The Indians, vowing vengeance, return to the reservation with the lifeless brave. A council of war is held, during which the little one appears with the doll in her arms. One of the Indians seizes this effigy of a while baby and hurls it over the bank, and when the girl climbs down and regains it she finds it hopelessly broken. Heart-crushed, the little one buries it in true Indian fashion, and as she is prostrate before the tiny pyre she hears the noise of the war dance. Hastening to the scene she realizes the grave danger of her first and only friends, and runs off to warn them. She isn’t any too soon, for the infuriated Indians are starting out. Joe dashes through the village arousing the inhabitants, and although the redskins have devastated and burned outlaying properly, they meet with powerful resistance at the village proper and are driven off. Everyone is loud in their praise for the little Indian child and are anxious to know her whereabouts. Alas, they will never know, for the little one, wounded during the conflict, has just strength enough to reach the little grave where she falls, making it a double one, and her pure soul parts with the little body sacrificed upon the altar of gratitude.”—22 Oct 1910 Moving Picture World +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.