Starring Baby Peggy, Edward Everett Horton and Jean Carpenter
THE SPRINGFIELD LEADER (SPINGFIELD, MO)
January 11, 1925
"Helen's Babies," which, as the book has been a best seller in every country in the world since its publication forty years ago, as the picture starring Baby Peggy literally breathes the wonderful story of home life on the screen. Baby Peggy is a perfect Toddy, the little girl about whom John Habberton wrote so beautifully in "Helen's Babies." She is supported by a brilliant cast among which are such established cinema artists as Edward Everett Horton, Clara bow, Claire Adams, Richard Tucker and many others.
The writer is willing to give any odds on a bet that if a census were taken the unanimous opinion of audiences viewing the picture would be that "Helen's Babies" as the picture is a marvelous screen visualization of a book which is conceded to be the greatest story of home life every published.
Their applause and the words of praise many of them addressed to the theater's manager substantiate what was so apparent.
With many other critics who have viewed this splendid picture, the writer does not hesitate to add his declaration that "Helen's Babies" is a religiously authentic adaptation of that phenomenal triumph in the literary field of all civilized nations.
It is the greatest child picture and the greatest cinema achievement in the fact that it highly entertains fans of all types and ages. "Helen's Babies'" success is founded in that it is so true to life. As nearly every one has read John Habberton's book, it is necessary to include only a brief synopsis of the screen version.
Todd and Budge are typical American youngsters of typically devoted American parents.
They tear up flowers in neighbors' gardens and "sic" their dog into fights with neighbors' cats. With all their tomboy qualities, however, their lovable natures predominate all through the picture. One can't keep down the temptation to rise up and squeeze them in a big hug if such would be possible to do with characters on the silver screen.
For a brief time the action turns to their rich bachelor uncle in the city. He is a typical woman-hater, and, yet, the women just deluge him with invitations to teas and to speak at their clubs.
At the suburban station, however, he finds his sister and her husband departing on another train in response to an urgent message from a sick relative. In the few minutes that he sees them, he gets the instructions of a lifetime from which he assimilates the fact that he is to be nursemaid and governess to the two nieces whom he has never seen.
It's too late to turn back to the city as his sister's butler has his bags. He is "embarrassed to tears" when he gets in the automobile and finds he has to share a seat with a young woman friend of his sister's. His embarrassment reaches a climax when he finds his two nieces with their faces plastered with mud staging a burlesque on "Uncle Tom's Cabin."
As a bachelor and an immaculate dresser, Uncle Harry encounters his first experience with children. They pull his hair, make him tie their sashes, compel him to get down on his knees and say for them their prayers and exact of this novice in the family circle all of the little trying things daily and nightly experienced by their father and mother.
Uncle Harry is never allowed to lose his temper, although from then on he forgets the meaning of composure. The mischievous little Toddy, with her twinkling eyes, and her less roguish sister always win him over. Circumstances result in his falling in love with his sister's friend, which furnishes the children with more material to tease him.
Uncle Harry engages in a thrilling fight with a whole band of gypsies to find that the children have stopped the train on which their parents were returning. Another thrill is furnished by the huge locomotive looming over the kiddies who refuse to leave the tracks. The photography of this incident is unusually fine. The cameras were so placed as to give every indication that the cowcatcher had passed over the two tiny girls.
Toddy, as we have said, is Baby Peggy. One of the main attributes of her essay of this role is her absolute simplicity. She becomes so interested in her part that she seems to forget the vigilant camera eye. In fact, she makes mud pies and plays with her dog just as she would if she were in the back yard of her own home or that of a neighbor.
Edward Everett Horton , well-known screen star who makes such a hit particularly in character studies, as Uncle Harry has a role which comes just as near being made to order as the one for Peggy.
Little Jean Carpenter makes a wonderful sister for Baby Peggy in the picture while Claire Adams and Richard Tucker hit it up together commendably as the mother and father. Clara Bow is a perfect young lady of the old school and, as such, it would seem, would enrapture any bachelor "in or out of the movies."
Starring Baby Peggy, Clara Bow, Edward Everett Horton, Jeanne Carpenter
If you don't do another thing be sure you take the children to see this when it comes to your favorite theater. Baby Peggy and Jean (sic) Carpenter are so cute and devilish that you can't help but enjoy their childish pranks. And poor Edward Horton - what a mean deal he gets from his sister's children. You see he is taking care of them while their mother is away on a vacation. So while the cat's away --
See more on "Helen's Babies" as our "Feature of the Month"
Return to reviews page