The Spoiled Darling’s Doll (1913)
Article 5551 by Dave Sindelar
Featuring Marie Eline, Helen Badgley, David Thompson
What it is: The reform of a brat
A spoiled brat has a nightmare where her doll comes to life to teach her a lesson.
From what I gather, Marie Eline (who plays the spoiled brat) was quite the sensation in her day, at least until she started aging. And there’s no doubt that she gives a great performance as the spoiled brat from hell. However, for this short to work, we need a performance from someone else that equal’s Eline’s, and that’s the role of the even younger child playing Eline’s doll. Helen Badgley is effective enough imitating a doll and being a bit creepy, but when the story requires that she put the brat through the same ringer that the brat has been putting the servants through, she falls a long ways short. To some extent, you only really know what’s going on during the dream sequence because you have an inkling as to what is supposed to be going on. Still, if this short doesn’t quite work, there are the pluses of Eline’s performance, and the last few minutes of the short, where we see how the parents and servants react to the changed Eline; I have to admit that the latter did make me laugh a bit.