Behind in the mortgage on Sunnybrook Farm and barely managing to feed seven hungry mouths, mother sends young Rebecca off to Riverboro to be raised by her wealthy Aunt Miranda. The little girl is treated like a prisoner by her strict Aunt, yet she gamely does her best to get an education. When spoiled girls at school mock the spirited Rebecca as "missy poor-house," she soon makes them come to eat their words. Despite many difficulties, Rebecca manages to help the less fortunate and spread joy in Riverboro, dreaming that her reward will come when she is "all growed up." This version is notable for having been adapted by famed female screenwriter Frances Marion.
This was never a story I really took to as a child, and even though Mary Pickford in the title role brings a great deal of charm to the character, I still don't much care for the story. "Rebecca" is a young girl whose family have fallen on hard times. One of seven siblings, she is chosen to go and live with her two maiden aunts - "Jane" (Mayme Kelso) and Miranda (Josephine Crowell) who, frankly, don't care much for or about her. Her personality is not for giving up, though, and she determines to make friends - alighting on the poverty stricken "Simpson' family to whose aid she intends to come (aka well meaning meddling). The film is pretty episodic, as is the book, in nature - and frequently her character borders on the annoyingly precocious. This production is well constructed and at times is a little more adventurous - the storm scene at the end is quite effective, and there's no denying that the star has the part down to a tee - it's just not a particularly enjoyable part to watch develop - and, well, I didn't. The two aunts play their indifferent, curmudgeonly, parts well enough and there is a bit of light-heartedness conveyed adequately via the inter-titles, but this just wasn't for me.