» » Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch (1919)

Short summary

Mrs. Wiggs, a loving mother whose husband has abandoned her, supports her many children and lives in hope of her husband's return.

An acetate copy of the film is preserved at the Library of Congress.

User reviews

  • comment
    • Author: Vut
    This film isn't anything too special but it's a fun way to spend an hour. The fact that it stars the beautiful, sweet, and charming Marguerite Clark automatically makes it a must-see. So few of her films survive, what a shame.

    This movie is available through Grapevine and even though their tapes aren't usually in good shape, this one certainly is. I was shocked by how good the print looked. There were nice tints, and everything.

    The story reminds me of a Mary Pickford film in a way. Lovely Mary (Clark) is an orphan at an orphanage. She takes care of a young boy there and raises him as her own. When the boy's mother comes back to claim him, Mary takes the young boy and elopes. She ends up living in the care of a kindly old woman named Mrs. Wiggs. I will not say too much about what happens next, I encourage you to see it for yourself! You won't be sorry.

    Lots of light-hearted funny moments, make this a perfect film for when you're feeling a little blue.
  • comment
    • Author: Mullador
    "Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch" appears to be one of only three films starring Marguerite Clark in circulation today. The other two are "Snow White" (1916) and "Little Miss Hoover" (1918). This one is probably my favorite of Clark's among the three. The fairytale "Snow White" is a more interesting narrative, but suffers somewhat from the more primitive film-making of just three years earlier. "Little Miss Hoover" is more interesting historically, but otherwise just isn't a very good film. Additionally, "Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch" is available in good condition, despite probably being from a 16mm reduction print, and includes color tinting and toning and original art titles. Clark biographer Curtis Nunn also suggests that this was one of the actress' most commercially successful releases.

    From 1914 to the dawn of the 1920s, Clark was Mary Pickford's top rival for America's most beloved screen actress. A 1918 Motion Picture magazine poll placed Pickford first and Clark second in votes for the most popular movie star. A 1919 Princeton poll of men placed Clark third among actresses, notably ahead of Pickford and below Norma Talmadge. Quigley's poll in 1920 voted her the top female box-office draw. Clark's reported salary in 1919 of $300,000 also attests to her popularity. Yet, Clark, recently married, sought retirement, which she soon accomplished by managing to fulfill her contract with Paramount by making nine films in 1919. After that, she made only one more picture in 1921, an independent production, "Scrambled Wives". One supposed result of Clark's marriage on her film career by 1919 was that her husband insisted she didn't kiss her male leads; indeed, the end of this film seems to bare evidence to that.

    "Charming" seemed to have often been used as a description for Clark's performances, and it seems fitting of her role in "Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch". Despite being 35-years-of-age, Clark isn't too unbelievable in the part of a teenager, despite sometimes appearing on screen alongside real teenagers, including Gladys Valerie, who played the orphan mother of Tommy. Among the supporting cast, Mary Carr stands out in the title role of Mrs. Wiggs; despite having been less than a decade older than Clark, she passes for an elderly widow. Additionally, despite the narrative involving poverty, children outside of marriage, runaway orphans and kidnapping, the film is not treated to be overly melodramatic and has quite a few light, charming and even comedic moments; indeed, it ends up a feel-good picture. Especially since most of Marguerite Clark's films are presumed lost, including what were probably some of her best, such as all but two reels of "Prunella" (1918), I recommend at least "Snow White" and "Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch" to silent film enthusiasts.
  • comment
    • Author: Peras
    The second screen version of this durable weeper. Although it lacks the charming goofiness of the 1934 version -- provided by W.C. Fields and Zasu Pitts -- it tells the story with enough flourishes to keep you wondering how everyone is going to get out alive and in some semblance of happiness. Watch for a very young May McAvoy in a supporting role.
  • comment
    • Author: interactive man
    By 1920 only Mary Pickford was more popular than Marguerite Clark but Clark soon retired and while she had had the praise of the intelligentsia (George Jean Nathan and H.L. Mencken), Mary had captured the public's heart. Also for many years much of Marguerite's Paramount movies were thought to be lost.

    This movie (a very good print from Alpha), to me, shows that Marguerite Clark was absolutely enchanting - far more winning and with an unassuming naturalness than Mary Pickford. Here she plays Lovey Mary, the "little mother" of the Orphanage - even though Maggie the Monitor does her best to rain on Mary's parade. Maggie runs away but returns two years later with a child, Tommy, who is given to Mary to be her little charge. When Maggie is finally able to care for the child, it is now Mary's turn to flee with Tommy - her destination, a settlement for the needy called "the Cabbage Patch"!!

    Kindly Mrs. Wiggs (Mary Carr) takes them under her wing (May McAvoy has a very early role as "Australy"), oldest son Billy (Gareth Hughes) takes a special interest in Mary but someone else is interested as well - it is Dick Morgan, son of the local philanthropist and who initially gave a lift to Mary and Tommy when they are caught in the rain!! But Dick has a secret and Maggie who now has a permanent job in a circus is just about to expose him!!

    All this drama is about to explode on the wedding day of Miss Tabitha Hazy - "the last rose of a good many summers" (as the title says). She has sent $1 to a matrimonial agency who in turn has sent her a husband - lanky Hiram!! Mrs. Wiggs remarks "You sure got a lot of man for your money"!! But "he may look like honest Abe Lincoln but..." - he's far from honest and has almost absconded with all Miss Hazy's worldly goods when he is found by Billy and given a helping hand out of town on a rail!! As the title says "the Lord gives and the Lord takes away"!!

    Probably the downside to this movie is that it is more an ensemble piece and Clark who is unassuming and not an eye catching performer like Pickford tends to get lost in the shuffle. Mary more than outlasted her rival - by 1921 Clark had retired. She had just married and while she admitted to being over 30, at 37 she was closer to 40 and probably realised that her days of playing the wide eyed innocent were ending!!

    Highly Recommended.
  • comment
    • Author: Marelyne
    I've good news and bad news. The good news is that this 5-reel movie is virtually complete in its KodaScope version and that the Alpha DVD is of very good quality, although I should point out that the more expensive Grapevine disc is a beautiful tinted original. The bad news is that despite his overawing presence, Robert Milasch, is not half as charismatic as W.C. Fields is in the 1934 remake. On the other hand, this one stars the absolutely wonderful Mary Carr in the title role and believe me, she is every bit as charismatic as famed Broadway star Pauline Lord is in the '34 version. The support players here are also to be highly commended, particularly Marguerite Clark in the main role and Vivian Ogden who has it all over 1934's ZaSu Pitts as Miss Hazy. Vivian walks away with the movie as soon as she comes on the screen. In fact, she is so charismatic that she actually shines in her close- ups – or maybe ace cinematographer William Marshall was responsible for this ingratiating effect. Marshall quit Hollywood in 1930 when all the studios collectively decided to abandon tinting as an economy measure – although the excuse was of course that tinted stock would not support a soundtrack. This excuse was blown sky-high by independent producers like Boris Petroff, but who listens to anything producers have to say, particularly independent producers?
  • Complete credited cast:
    Marguerite Clark Marguerite Clark - Lovey Mary
    Mary Carr Mary Carr - Mrs. Nancy Wiggs
    Vivia Ogden Vivia Ogden - Miss Tabitha Hazy
    Gladys Valerie Gladys Valerie - Maggie Duncan
    Gareth Hughes Gareth Hughes - Billy Wiggs
    Jack McLean Jack McLean - Dick Morgan (as Jack MacLean)
    Maud Hosford Maud Hosford - Mrs. 'Phroney Morgan
    Lawrence Johnson Lawrence Johnson - Tommy
    May McAvoy May McAvoy - Australy Wiggs
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