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Film / Little Annie Rooney

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Annie's ready to brawl.
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Little Annie Rooney is a 1926 film directed by William Beaudine, starring Mary Pickford and William Haines.

Annie Rooney (Pickford) is a spunky teen girl (Pickford was 34 years old) living in the slums of New York. Annie is a tomboy and leader of a gang of teens, who frequently engage in alley-wide brawls with a rival teen gang, the Kid Kellys. Annie isn't always a tomboy, though; she has a crush on Jack Kelly (Haines). Jack is the leader of the Big Kellys, a grown-up gang of petty criminals. Annie's brother Tim is a member of the Big Kellys, as their father is a policeman. Many wacky hijinks ensue as Annie engages in her high-spirited adventures and admires Jack from afar—until tragedy suddenly ensues.


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Tropes:

  • As You Know: "G'wan, Tim Rooney, I don't shake hands with no cop's son," says Spider, establishing that 1) Tim is Annie's brother and 2) their father is a policeman.
  • Dances and Balls: The tragic shooting of Pops Rooney takes place at the neighborhood dance.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Annie is so distracted by handsome Jack that she spills the cream in her creamer all over the floor.
  • Easily Forgiven: Not only does Tim shoot Jack on a public street, he actually turns himself in to the police. What happens to him? He becomes a cop.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The very first shot has members of the Kid Kellys drawing an unflattering caricature of Annie on a wall. Annie sees them, and flings a brick. A massive brick-throwing brawl breaks out.
  • Fruit Cart: A spin on the old trope. No one crashes into a fruit cart, but the brawling kids wind up spooking a horse attached to a fruit cart, which promptly bolts, spilling fruit everywhere.
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  • Grievous Bottley Harm: A lot of bricks connect with noggins, but no one seems the worse for wear.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: The dance that the Big Kellys are strong arming people into buying tickets for is being hosted by the "Pansy Social Club."
  • I Am Spartacus: When Annie finally confesses to flinging the brick that spooked the horse, all her friends each say that no, they did it.
  • Instant Death Bullet: Officer Rooney just keels over dead after he's shot at the dance.
  • Love Redeems: Jack, a petty criminal, turns to good after falling in love with Annie. The last scene shows that he's started a trucking company.
  • Missing Mom: No hint of where Mom is, not even when a neighbor playfully suggests another neighbor might become the new Mrs. Rooney.
  • Mood Whiplash: The film turns on a dime from wacky Our Gang-style hijinks to tragedy when Officer Rooney gets shot.
  • Officer O'Hara: Pops Rooney is straight out of central casting, saying things like "'Tis proud I am." He has no idea his son is a petty hoodlum.
  • Titled After the Song: A latter-day viewer might not know, and might be puzzled by a reference in the film to "the hated song"—but "Little Annie Rooney" was a popular dance hall song that dated back to the late 19th century.
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