Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actor: Mary Pickford
Amanda Afflick is a lovesick laundress who daydreams about customer Horace Greensmith and cherishes the shirt he brought in for washing eight months and sixteen days ago. She tells her fellow workers that the garment belon... more »
"America's Sweetheart" makes good !!!
Matthew G. Sherwin | last seen screaming at Amazon customer service | 05/05/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Suds is a very good Mary Pickford vehicle that showcases Mary's excellent acting skills combined with some Chaplinesque features including a lot more slapstick that you usually find in a Mary Pickford film. The acting is very convincing and the plot moves along rather well although one or two scenes could have been tightened up a bit.
When the action begins, Amanda Afflick (Mary Pickford) is a poor, impoverished laundress working for slave wages in terrible conditions in an old London launderette. Her boss, Mrs. Didier (Rose Dione), is not exactly the kind type; and Mary spends much of her time daydreaming about a man named Horace Greensmith (Albert Austin) who dropped off his shirt to be laundered--a mere eight months and 16 days ago! Mary even finds time to wash and re-wash Horace's shirt twice every week as she patiently waits for him to come and pick up his shirt--and claim her for his bride-to-be, she hopes.
Of course, the other women who work in the launderette merely make fun of Amanda and blame Amanda for anything wrong that happens. However, it isn't all that tough to watch; there are some funny slapstick elements. There's an especially well done scene in which Amanda and Mrs. Didier accidentally go sliding down the laundry chute together and when Mary laughs at Mrs. Didier you can't help but identify with Mary.
There's also a fine subplot about the launderette's old horse Lavender who carries the heavy wagon full or clothing orders all over London every day; he is rescued by Mary who spends all the money she has left to spare Lavender from the glue factory. This is very well done; and look for a fine performance from Harold Goodwin as Benjamin Pillsbury Jones, the man who drives the laundry cart and who secretly desires to be Mary's boyfriend.
Of course, from here the plot can go just about anywhere. Will Horace ever come to claim his shirt? If he does, will he consider becoming romantically involved with Amanda after all? One of the final endings may surprise you. (There are three versions of the ending on this DVD.) What about Lavender the horse--will Mary be able to keep him after she rescues him from the glue factory? And what about Amanda and Benjamin--will they ever become involved with each other? No plot spoilers here, folks--watch the movie and find out!
The cinematography and the choreography work well in the numerous crowd scenes; and the shots of Mary Pickford as Amanda are all very nicely done.
The DVD comes with a fascinating bonus about Mary Pickford and then-husband Douglas Fairbanks. We see wonderful archival footage of the couple touring Europe and even Russia much to the delight of their countless adoring fans. There is footage of the formation of United Artists, too. There is a version of the movie for audiences overseas; and we get fine comparisons between a few minutes of the American version and the version of the movie for overseas.
Overall, Suds is a fine Mary Pickford vehicle that aims to please fans of the great Mary Pickford. Her acting is wonderful and it truly breaks your heart--she's THAT good as Amanda Afflick. I highly recommend this film for Mary Pickford fans and silent movie aficionados.
Altogether a good and interesting DVD
Barbara (Burkowsky) Underwood | Manly, NSW Australia | 05/12/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There are several features of this DVD that make it interesting and different from the usual Mary Pickford DVDs. For a start, Mary's role in "Suds" is far removed from the `sweet little girl with long golden curls' image she has become most famous for, and anyone not so keen on films in which she plays a child-like young girl might find "Suds" more entertaining. Another change from the usual and popular image is the setting: a poor, working-class district of London at the turn of the century where women slave in steaming basement laundries day in and day out, leading one of them (Mary) to escape this drudgery by daydreaming about a certain gentleman customer. The sets, photography and well-suited musical score combine to express the mood very well, and some charming moments of comedy prevent the picture becoming too gloomy and depressing. In fact, the original ending was deemed too sad and heartbreaking for audiences who generally preferred a fairytale happy ending, especially in the every-popular Pickford films of the 1920s, resulting in not one, but two alternative happy endings being made! Both of these are on the DVD, as well as a separate short segment explaining the further differences between the American and overseas releases, which I found particularly fascinating. But perhaps most striking about "Suds" is how `America's Sweetheart' manages to distort her face and appear more like a very average-looking, unhappy working woman; even her walk and stooped stance adds to this sad character, so in this respect "Suds" allows Pickford to express other facets of her acting talents and gives audiences a bit of a change.
Also on this DVD is a half-hour documentary made in 1966 about Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks: Hollywood's first `golden couple' whose popularity in the 1920s is compared to the 1960's 'Beatlemania' phenomenon in this documentary. It is only a brief summary of the pair and covers just a few highlights of each one's individual career, but as such it would be a good introduction for those not yet too familiar with these famous silent screen legends, and no doubt a nice treat for their modern-day fans as well. Personally, I was impressed by the newsreel footage of the couple's overwhelming reception by huge, enthusiastic crowds wherever they went, including Russia, Denmark and Sweden, where they were hugely popular. There is also a nice "Suds" stills gallery on the DVD, making for entertaining viewing all round.
Anyechka | Rensselaer, NY United States | 09/13/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This 1920 feature is often seen as being rather influenced by Mary Pickford's good friend Charlie Chaplin, because there's a good deal of slapstick here, as well as drama interwoven with pathos. The story is simple enough; homely young Amanda Afflick works in Madame Didier's French laundry in a part of London that doesn't exactly seem very well-to-do. Amanda often gets into trouble with Madame Didier (and the other girls and women she works with) because she spends a lot of time daydreaming and goofing off instead of paying more attention to her duties as a laundress. Her biggest daydream is that Horace Greensmith, Esquire, will return for the shirt he dropped off 8 months and 16 days ago, and that when he returns, he'll take her with him as his bride. Amanda even makes up a whole story for her co-workers about how she's really a duchess and Horace was her sweetheart, but her cruel father cast both of them out into the cold because he disapproved of their love and wanted Amanda to experience life like anyone else, and to be loved for herself, not because she had fancy clothes and expensive jewelry. There's also a subplot concerning Lavender, the laundry's worn-out old horse who pulls their delivery wagon, and Amanda's attempts to save him from the glue factory and to give him a good life in a nice place after so many years of hard work.
This story does have the usual Pickford charm, but for some reason I can't quite articulate, it never really gets off of the ground or goes anywhere. The plot could have been a little tighter and more concentrated, with more character development. Perhaps it could have been aided by a longer length (the film runs barely over an hour), or perhaps some of the more superfluous scenes could have been cut down or edited out altogether. Mary's acting also seems more broad than usual here, so we don't really fully come to care for Amanda the same way we care for, say, Judy in 'Daddy-Long-Legs' or Tess in 'Tess of the Storm Country.' Additionally, the people in her supporting cast aren't very memorable either, and Albert Austin (the man who plays Horace) isn't really that gorgeous, certainly not the type of man who would justify such constant daydreaming and unrequited love at first sight. The three endings also are very abrupt. One of the endings, which was very very Chaplinesque, is described to us even though it's not the ending of either of the two versions on the disc (that ending has Amanda crying on the steps lamenting how no one would or could ever love her), one of the endings suggests a possible future with her and Horace after all, and the third ending suggests a possible future for Amanda and Benjamin (the man who drives the laundry wagon Lavender pulls). In both extant versions, we do see Benjamin coming toward the laundry, holding a little bouquet of flowers, before seeing Amanda and Horace together and assuming the worst, although whether or not the ending suggests a romantic future for them, it doesn't really make much sense since we haven't had the slightest hint prior to this that Benjamin even had feelings for Amanda beyond friendship. Regardless, neither ending really gives us a sense of closure. This problem could have been rectified had the movie been just one reel longer.
In addition to the main feature, there's also the foreign version of the movie (with different intertitles and footage, and, as described above, a different ending from the American release), a short comparison of both versions, a photo gallery, one of the alternate endings, and a brief 1966 documentary about Mary and her second husband, Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., 'The Birth of a Legend.' I found the documentary enjoyable, although it was annoying how most of the film clips had sound effects dubbed in. Overall, it's not a film I'd recommend to a newer fan, but it does still have charm and enjoyability. Even a lesser Pickford film is a good sight better than the majority of what passes for entertainment today."