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HISTORY

The 26 May 1917 Moving Picture World announced the film as the third screen vehicle for Broadway dance star Ann Pennington. Although principal photography took place in New York City, the article noted that opening scenes included shots of northern Mexico while U.S. National Guardsmen were stationed in Texas along the Rio Grande. An item in the 9 Jun 1917 Motography and 23 Jun 1917 Moving Picture World reported that producers Famous Players Film Co. arranged for Boy Scout Troop 100 from “the upper West Side of New York City” to appear in the picture. Director Francis J. Grandon also acquired the services of U.S. Army troops stationed at Fort Totten, near Queens, NY. The soldiers, who expected no compensation for their screen appearances, were surprised to receive payment from Famous Players, along with bonus money to purchase a new movie projector for the camp. Co-star Harry Lee was reportedly cast as “Sergeant Jones” based on his prior military service.
       Following the end of production, the 6 Jul 1917 Var revealed that Pennington was having difficulty reacclimating to theatrical rehearsals, expecting a “call to the camera before starting her action.” She was appearing at the time in Florenz Ziegfeld’s Midnight Follies. The Jul 1917 Photo-Play Journal claimed that Pennington was threatening to dress exclusively in male apparel after wearing a Boy Scout uniform in the picture. She also considered leading a movement to abolish skirts for women.
       The Little Boy Scout opened 28 Jun 1917 to unenthusiastic reviews. Although critics ...

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The 26 May 1917 Moving Picture World announced the film as the third screen vehicle for Broadway dance star Ann Pennington. Although principal photography took place in New York City, the article noted that opening scenes included shots of northern Mexico while U.S. National Guardsmen were stationed in Texas along the Rio Grande. An item in the 9 Jun 1917 Motography and 23 Jun 1917 Moving Picture World reported that producers Famous Players Film Co. arranged for Boy Scout Troop 100 from “the upper West Side of New York City” to appear in the picture. Director Francis J. Grandon also acquired the services of U.S. Army troops stationed at Fort Totten, near Queens, NY. The soldiers, who expected no compensation for their screen appearances, were surprised to receive payment from Famous Players, along with bonus money to purchase a new movie projector for the camp. Co-star Harry Lee was reportedly cast as “Sergeant Jones” based on his prior military service.
       Following the end of production, the 6 Jul 1917 Var revealed that Pennington was having difficulty reacclimating to theatrical rehearsals, expecting a “call to the camera before starting her action.” She was appearing at the time in Florenz Ziegfeld’s Midnight Follies. The Jul 1917 Photo-Play Journal claimed that Pennington was threatening to dress exclusively in male apparel after wearing a Boy Scout uniform in the picture. She also considered leading a movement to abolish skirts for women.
       The Little Boy Scout opened 28 Jun 1917 to unenthusiastic reviews. Although critics found Pennington to be a charming screen presence, her character lacked emotional depth, as did the other characters. It was also noted that the mood of the subtitles changed from dramatic to comical during the latter portion of the film. Several reviews suggested that the picture would appeal mostly to adolescents. One critic referred to Pennington's character "Justina Kneeland," and that played by Marcia Harris as "Elizabeth Kneeland." The Oct 1917 Photoplay was not as generous, describing Pennington’s film career as “unfortunate” and her latest release as “quite dreadful.”
       The title was changed later that summer to The Little Soldier Girl, as stated in the 11 Aug 1917. Other sources have listed the title as A Little Soldier Girl. That same issue reported the arrest of Bernard Depkin, Jr., manager of the Parkway Theatre in Baltimore, MD, for screening the film without a seal of approval from the state censorship board. Although the picture contained nothing offensive, Depkin was fined $25 plus court costs.

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Exhibitors Trade Review
14 Jul 1917
p. 416
Motion Picture News
21 Jul 1917
p. 434
Motography
9 Jun 1917
p. 1216
Motography
7 Jul 1917
p. 53
Motography
21 Jul 1917
p. 156
Moving Picture World
26 May 1917
p. 1313
Moving Picture World
23 Jun 1917
p. 1962
Moving Picture World
28 Jul 1917
p. 652, 695
Moving Picture World
11 Aug 1917
p. 972, 973
New York Clipper
11 Jul 1917
p. 34
NYDM
14 Jul 1917
p. 17
Photoplay
Oct 1917
p. 60, 102
Photo-Play Journal
Jul 1917
p. 37
Variety
6 Jul 1917
p. 20
Variety
13 Jul 1917
p. 26
Wid's Daily
12 Jul 1917
p. 444
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
A Little Soldier Girl
The Little Soldier Girl
Release Date:
28 July 1917
Production Date:
May--Jun 1917
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Famous Players Film Co.
25 June 1917
LP11009
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Length(in reels):
5
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

After the death of her American father and Mexican mother, Justina Kneeland lives in Mexico with her mother's brother, who plans to marry the girl to his son in order to gain control of the rich mines that the orphan will inherit. To avoid the marriage, Justina runs away and starts for the home of her Aunt Elizabeth who lives in Lowell, Massachusetts. Detained at the border by American troops, Justina is befriended by Lieutenant Thomas Morgan, who helps her to reach her aunt's house. The uncle pursues her to Lowell, and in order to escape being taken back to Mexico, Justina disguises herself as a boy scout and joins the troop, now under the command of Lieutenant Morton, who has also come to Lowell. When the uncle overtakes the scouts and tries to force Justina to go with him, he discovers that he is too late because Justina has become Mrs. Thomas ...

More Less

After the death of her American father and Mexican mother, Justina Kneeland lives in Mexico with her mother's brother, who plans to marry the girl to his son in order to gain control of the rich mines that the orphan will inherit. To avoid the marriage, Justina runs away and starts for the home of her Aunt Elizabeth who lives in Lowell, Massachusetts. Detained at the border by American troops, Justina is befriended by Lieutenant Thomas Morgan, who helps her to reach her aunt's house. The uncle pursues her to Lowell, and in order to escape being taken back to Mexico, Justina disguises herself as a boy scout and joins the troop, now under the command of Lieutenant Morton, who has also come to Lowell. When the uncle overtakes the scouts and tries to force Justina to go with him, he discovers that he is too late because Justina has become Mrs. Thomas Morton.

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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.