Thursday, December 10, 2009

"The Delicious Little Devil" (1919) Valentino

"The Delicious Little Devil " (1919) is a silent comedy that stars the largely forgotten Mae Murray and the legendary Rudolph Valentino in an early role. Directed by Robert Z. Leonard, this light-hearted comedy begins with Mary McGuire, played by Mae Murray, working as a coat and cloak check girl. Mary winds up getting fired from her job when she wears one of the customer's garments and dances around it. Disappointed because she not only loses her job but her father and uncle are so lazy that they expect her to support them, Mary decides to apply for a job as a hostess and dancer at the "Peach Tree Inn." The proprietor tells her that he is looking for a woman "with a past." Mary, who is a virtuous young girl with no past at all, lies, pretending to be the notorious European dancer Gloria De Moine in order to get the job. Even though Mary's dancing ability is obviously lacking as she whirls around the dance floor, the public loves all of her silly dance numbers and outrageous costumes. She becomes a sensation and starts making a lot of money. Every night in a seat of honor is Jimmy Calhoun, played by Rudolph Valentino, the son of a local millionaire. Jimmy is truly smitten with Mary and wants to marry her. However, Michael Calhoun does not like his son getting involved with a dancer and starts investigating the young woman. In the meantime, Gloria De Moine's ex-lover, the Duke, arrives at the "Peach Tree Inn." Realizing he will expose her for a fraud, Mary tries to run away. Unfortunately, the Duke follows her and tries to force himself on her. What will happen to Mary? You will have to watch the film to find out.

"The Delicious Little Devil " was considered a "lost" film until a print was found in 1991 by the Nederlands Filmmuseum. This film is particularly valuable in that it is one of the few of the silent screen superstar Mae Murray known to exist. Even though TCM broadcasts "The Delicious Little Devil" when presenting Valentino films, Mae Murray is the star and he only has a supporting role. Murray was a popular star of early films, but her name has slipped out of the consciousness of popular culture. During the teen years, Murray's style reflected the Victorian era's wholesome, virtuous girls. She quickly remade her image in the Roaring Twenties' style of sharp hair designs and reconstructive makeup. Her famous bee-stung lips were the vogue in the 1920's, exemplified by many leading ladies of the screen. Murray was a fascinating dancer and skillful in light comedy. "The Delicious Little Devil" is a funny and entertaining film. Murray is so sweet and amusing. The scene in which she impersonates Mary Pickford is hilarious. Only fifty five minutes in duration, this little comedy is a delightful glimpse of the early days of the Jazz Age with the charming Mae Murray and the exceedingly handsome Valentino.


  1. Silent, The Delicious Little Devil, sounds like a delicious little film. I can't wait to see it. :)

  2. Dawn, thank you for adding the Mae Murray fan page. I don't know much about her. This is the only one of her films that I have seen. I have read that very few of her films have survived. The fan page was very informative. Interesting info.

  3. I've never heard of this movie. It sounds like a lot of fun. I've been getting into Valentino movies lately. I stayed away for a long time because I thought he seemed so serious; I was surprised to find out how funny he is. Nice review!

  4. KC, I would recommend you to watch Valentino in The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Many critics believe it was his best film. I would also recommend you to watch his final film, The Son of the Sheik.


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