Little Old New York (1923)
“Little Old New York” is a silent film released in 1923, directed by Sidney Olcott and based on a play of the same name by Rida Johnson Young.
The film is a historical drama that takes place in the early 19th century and is set against the backdrop of New York City’s development.
The story revolves around the character of Patricia O’Day, played by Marion Davies, a young Irish woman who travels to New York City with the intention of claiming her deceased father’s estate. Patricia arrives in the bustling city during a transformative period when plans for the Erie Canal are taking shape. Her inheritance, however, is entangled in legal disputes, and she faces challenges in proving her rightful claim.
Throughout the film, Patricia encounters various obstacles and adversaries, including scheming lawyers and conniving relatives who seek to thwart her inheritance. Despite these challenges, Patricia is determined to secure her father’s legacy and the wealth that comes with it.
As Patricia’s quest for justice unfolds, she becomes acquainted with and ultimately falls in love with Robert Fulton, portrayed by Harrison Ford (not the contemporary actor of the same name). Robert Fulton is a historical figure known for his work on steamboat development. Their romance is central to the film’s narrative, and their relationship is portrayed as a source of support and strength for Patricia.
“Little Old New York” also features the ambitious and groundbreaking project of building the Erie Canal, which played a significant role in shaping the United States’ transportation and economic landscape during the 19th century. The film incorporates historical elements, depicting the challenges and innovations associated with this engineering feat.
The film’s climax centers on Patricia’s determination to prove her legal claim and ensure the success of the Erie Canal project. The narrative unfolds with elements of drama, romance, and historical events, offering a well-rounded viewing experience.
Marion Davies’ performance in “Little Old New York” received praise, as she effectively portrayed Patricia’s strength and determination in the face of adversity. Her character’s journey serves as a source of inspiration for viewers.
“Little Old New York” captures the spirit of the early 19th century and the historical importance of the Erie Canal in the United States’ development. It serves as a reminder of the impact of determined individuals and pivotal infrastructure projects that shaped the nation’s growth and progress.
While it may not be as widely remembered as some other silent films of its time, “Little Old New York” remains a valuable piece of cinematic history, offering a blend of drama, romance, and historical context that provides a glimpse into the challenges and triumphs of the past.
Release Date: June 3rd, 1923
Main Cast Members
Marion Davies (Patricia O’Day)
Harrison Ford (Larry Delevan)
Courtenay Foote (Robert Fulton)
Mahlon Hamilton (Washington Irving)
Louis Wolheim (The Hoboken Terror)
J. M. Kerrigan (John O’Day)