Picture Brides

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Although released as an "Allied Pictures Special," Picture Brides revealed its Poverty Row origins in almost all departments, including casting and choice of material. Waning silent star Dorothy Mackaill was top-billed as Mame, one of five mail-order brides arriving at Lottagrasso, a remote Brazilian gold mining community. The fifth girl, Mary Lee (Dorothy Libaire), is actually there about a job but knowing the reputation of the mining boss, Von Luden (Alan Hale), Mame supplies the girl with a picture of Dave Hart (Regis Toomey) and tells her to pretend to be a bride as well. Hart, meanwhile, is wanted in the States for embezzlement and rejects Mary. During a night of wanton revelry, Dave saves Mary in the nick of time from being ravished by the unscrupulous Von Luden. The villain attacks instead Mataeo (Mary Kornman), the half-breed daughter of the mining community's doctor (Harvey Clark), who is found dead in a nearby swamp the following morning. In front of a couple of American detectives, there to apprehend Dave, Mataeo's distraught father kills his daughter's murderer. Dave returns the money he had embezzled and begins to plan a new future with Mary. Although performing with her usual assurance, nominal leading lady Dorothy Mackaill was given very little to do by producer M.H. Hoffman, who was obviously more interested in promoting young Dorothy Libaire, the wife of stage and screen director Marion Gering. Libaire, unfortunately, did not live up to her billing and her screen career went nowhere. Esther Muir and the ever-popular Mae Busch did well with what little they were given and Alan Hale chewed up the scenery in a role most likely created for Jean Hersholt.


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