The Musketeers of Pig Alley

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Movie Info

Lillian Gish portrays a sweatshop worker courted by a mobster in this 1912 D.W. Griffith silent short, set in New York City. Other actors: Walter Miller, Harry Carey and Elmer Booth.


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Audience Reviews for The Musketeers of Pig Alley

  • Apr 11, 2016
    This D.W. Griffith silent for Biograph is 17 minutes (a two-reeler) and available on YouTube. A woman called "The Little Lady" on title cards (L. Gish) and her musician husband (W. Miller) live in the slums of New York City. Griffith was shooting pictures in California at this time, so all the street scenes with teeming immigrants, merchants, and generic pedestrians would have been filmed on a soundstage. This poor couple faces much tragedy. While the husband is gone seeking paying gigs, a local hoodlum, or musketeer, sets his eyes on the Little Lady. At one point when the musician husband returns, his newly earned money is stolen by the same local gangster. Snapper Kid (E. Booth) and his sidekick (a young Harry Carey) are kept at bay the first time Snapper Kid tries to flirt with the Little Lady, but later when the Little Lady's friend takes her to a dance, The Gangster's Ball, Snapper Kid makes a move again. Gangsters in the poor section of big cities are always the best dressed and throw the best parties, which seduces the ordinary people who have very little. Well a rival gang leader (A. Paget) has also set his sights on the Little Lady, and this starts a mini-gang war. Griffith's parallel editing is actually a bit confusing as the two gangs track each other down through the same back alleys. There is a powerful close-up of Snapper Kid as he cautiously creeps through what is perhaps the Pig Alley of the title. Eventually there is a big, fast shoot-out. By sheer coincidence the musician husband recovers his stolen wallet, and the charming Snapper Kid doesn't get the outcome that you'd expect a criminal to get in a movie from this time period. Some strong work setting up the gangster/crime genre, but the ending felt incomplete.
    Byron B Super Reviewer

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