M'Liss (1936 film)

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Anne Shirley and John Beal in M'Liss, 1936.jpg
Anne Shirley and John Beal
Directed by George Nicholls, Jr.
Produced by David Butler
Written by Bret Harte (novel)
Dorothy Yost
Starring Anne Shirley
Music by Alberto Colombo
Cinematography Robert De Grasse
Edited by William Morgan
Distributed by RKO Radio Pictures
Release date
  • August 7, 1936 (1936-08-07)
Running time
66 minutes
Country United States
Language English

M'Liss is a 1936 drama film starring Anne Shirley. The film was directed by George Nicholls, Jr. and based upon a Bret Harte novel. It is a remake of the 1918 film M'liss starring Mary Pickford in the title role.


M'Liss is an innocent but rambunctious 17-year-old girl who was born and raised in the small town of Smith's Pocket. Her father Washoe Smith, whose briefly productive mining claim was both the source of the town's name and the reason for its existence, is now known among the people as the town drunk. M'Liss has to take care of him and works in a saloon washing glasses. They lose their home when Mayor Morpher demands it as the location of the new school. New school master Stephen Thorne encourages M'Liss to leave the saloon and go to school.

Her father is shot and killed while intervening in a saloon brawl. The now orphaned M'Liss is left in the guardianship of her father's friends, gambler Lou Ellis and the town barber Alf Edwards. When the mayor's wife Delia disapproves of M'Liss and tries to have her placed in an orphanage, M'Liss decides to leave Smith's Pocket. Stephen kisses M'Liss to persuade her not to run away. Told that a kiss is tantamount to a proposal of marriage, M'Liss is confused about what marriage is and asks for advice from heart-of-gold saloon girl Rose.

The Morphers' ne'er-do-well city cousin, Jack Farlan, drunkenly tries to take advantage of M'Liss but is rescued by Stephen. When he refuses to duel Farlan with pistols, because he is a crack shot and would have the advantage over the intoxicated Farlan, Stephen is accused by the townspeople of cowardice. Late that night Farlan is shot and Stephen is accused, although in fact it is Lou who shot him. Assuming that Farlan will die, the town prepares to lynch Stephen, but Farlan will recover and Lou admits shooting him. Stephen proposes marriage to M'Liss and her guardians happily give their blessing.



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