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Amarilly of Clothes-Line Alley is a 1918 silent film directed by Marshall Neilan, written by Frances Marion and based on a Belle K. Maniates novel
Set in San Francisco during the early 1900s, the film revolves around Amarilly (Mary Pickford), the daughter of a widowed scrubwoman. Amarilly is proud of her hard-working Irish family, and takes care of her five roughhouse brothers. She is engaged to bartender Terry McGowan (William Scott), who gets her a job as a cigarette girl in his cafe after a fire unfairly causes her to lose her job as a theater scrubwoman. While working as a cigarette girl, she meets Gordon Phillips (Norman Kerry), a handsome and wealthy but frivolous young man, who is a society sculptor.
Terry becomes jealous when Amarilly starts hanging out with Gordon, and he breaks off the engagement. Gordon offers Amarilly a job with his wealthy and snobbish aunt, Mrs. Phillips (Ida Waterman). When the neighborhood is quarantined after a breakout of scarlet fever, Mrs. Phillips decides to take the time to teach Amarilly high class manners in a Pygmalion-like experiment. However, once she discovers her nephew has fallen in love with Amarilly, she turns against her. Mrs. Phillips tries to humiliate Amarilly by inviting her family over for a social party.
Amarilly is outraged and returns to her old home. She sees Terry and invites him for supper. He is delighted, and on the way to her house, he stops to buy expensive 50 cent violets, even though he had earlier passed up violets at 15 cents. He is shot by accident, and barely makes it to Amarilly’s house before collapsing. Fortunately, Terry survives. Amarilly visits him in the hospital and tells him that when he gets out, they have a date at City Hall.
The final scene is five years later. Amarilly is in a side car on Terry’s motor bike; they both are nicely dressed and seem to be doing well. Then it is revealed under the blanket she has a baby, and behind Terry is a little boy.
Mary Pickford – Amarilly Jenkins
William Scott – Terry McGowen
Kate Price – Mrs. Americus Jenkins
Ida Waterman – Mrs. David Phillips
Norman Kerry – Gordon Phillips
Fred Goodwins – Johnny Walker
Margaret Landis – Colette King
Tom Wilson – ‘Snitch’ McCarthy
Wesley Barry – Amarilly’s Brother
Frank Butterworth – Amarilly’s Brother
George Hackathorne – Amarilly’s Brother
Marcia Manon – Woman in Dance Hall
Antrim Short – Amarilly’s Brother
Gertrude Short – Gossip
Herbert Standing – Father Riordan
Larry Steers – One of Gordon’s Friends
Gustav von Seyffertitz – Surgeon