Sentimental Tommy

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Sentimental Tommy
Sentimental Tommy - Exhibitors Herald, March 19, 1921.jpg
Directed byJohn S. Robertson
Produced byFamous Players-Lasky
Written byJosephine Lovett (scenario)
Based onSentimental Tommy
by James M. Barrie
StarringGareth Hughes
May McAvoy
George Fawcett
Mabel Taliaferro
CinematographyRoy Overbaugh
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • May 29, 1921 (1921-05-29)
Running time
75+ minutes at 8 reels (7,575 ft)
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent (English intertitles)

Sentimental Tommy is a 1921 American silent drama film directed by John S. Robertson which has Mary Astor in one of her earliest roles, although her scenes were deleted before release. The story is based on James M. Barrie's novel and play. The film, which made a star of Gareth Hughes, is now considered to be a lost film.[1]


As described in a film publication,[2] Grizel (McAvoy) is the daughter of the Painted Lady (Taliaferro), who believes that her lover will one day return. Grizel is ostracized by the other children of the town. Tommy Sandys (Hughes) and his sister Elspeth (Frost) come to the town. Tommy is friendly, but Elspeth keeps her distance. When the Painted Lady dies, Dr. Gemmell (Greene) makes Grizel his housekeeper.

Time passes and after the doctor dies, Grizel, who is now twenty-one years old, loves Tommy, who is an author in London. Tommy visits the town but cannot decide whether he loves Grizel. Grizel knows that Tommy does not love her, and after he returns to London her unhappiness leads to insanity. Tommy returns and marries Grizel, although he believes that she will hate him when she gets better. After two years under Tommy's care, she regains her sanity. After Tommy lets her know that he cared for her out of his love for her; not for pity, Grizel is happy.



The Movie Sentimental Tommy received mixed reviews when the film was released on May 29, 1921. The Courier Journal article expressed their admiration for the films acting to be precise. Calling out the director Barrie for directing this "very fine film" [3] and how the film expresses so much emotion with no words. The article also states that Hughes the very famous Welsh actor is a big hit with the fans. The Courier Journal expressed a good review on the film and its actors. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer the film Sentimental Tommy, "there is the tender, elusive quality, the charm and the pathos, the humor, the quality which could bring one to tears while smiling.” [4] Relating to the youth of the 1920s the author insinuates how you see Tommy grow from a child to a man which is "simply spectacular". The magazine Variety stated that the film must have been "a great pleasure” [5] to record a movie that is so fine and expresses admiration for how a book has been translated so finely to the screen. The author of the article talks about the character Tommy in his entirety of how he is a "profound character in this film particular."[6] Going into depth about how the movie was incredibly directed and spews about the actor who played Tommy, Gareth Hughes. People were infatuated with Hughes and liked his acting style in the movie for it portrayed the Tommy people knew and loved in the novel. The Christian Science Monitor, stated the newly released film Sentimental Tommy "respects its original novel that was printed years prior to the movie." [7] The author of the article states how Tommy’s story is told with “numerous titles but, happily, they are written by someone with an active intelligence." The Christian Science Monitor compares other movies to Sentimental Tommy. These films include; The Four Horsemen, The Ole Swimming Hole, and Thrums Of Long Island. Sherwood, from Life Magazine [8] gives a review of Sentimental Tommy with the pros and cons he lists. mentioning the director of the film whom is, John S. Robertson and states that throughout the film Robertson displays a "commendable degree of good taste throughout.[9]" This “perfect interpretation[10]” of the novel leads him on to say how he was surprised how good the film turned out considering how unusual the settings in the novel were. The one thing that did bother Sherwood was the film was “far too long.”[11]

Negative reviews included one that ran in the The Minneapolis Morning Tribune, the headline stated: “Reviewer calls happy ending only real weakness of screen version.” [12] Life Magazine ran an article expressing dissatisfaction with the top ten movies of 1921, Sentimental Tommy among them, . explaining how an unwritten law has landed these “trendy movies”[12] into the top.


  1. ^ Progressive Silent Film List: Sentimental Tommy at
  2. ^ "Sentimental Tommy: Has a Place Among Year's Best Pictures". Film Daily. New York City: Wyd's Films and Film Folks, Inc. 16 (3): 2. April 3, 1921. Retrieved 2014-03-18.
  3. ^ "9) "DIVERSION A-PLENTY IN THE MOTION PICTURE THEATERS."". The Minneapolis Morning Tribune (1909-1930) Jul 03 1921: 45. ProQuest. 22 Oct. 2018 . July 3, 1921.
  4. ^ "3) "(Page 52 of 108)."". Philadelphia Inquirer (1860-1934) May 22, 1921: 52. ProQuest. 22 Oct. 2018 . May 22, 1921.
  5. ^ "SENTIMENTAL TOMMY". 6) Rush. "Pictures: SENTIMENTAL TOMMY." Variety (Archive: 1905-2000) Apr 01 1921: 41. ProQuest. 22 Oct. 2018 . April 1, 1921.
  6. ^ "SENTIMENTAL TOMMY". 6) Rush. "Pictures: SENTIMENTAL TOMMY." Variety (Archive: 1905-2000) Apr 01 1921: 41. ProQuest. 22 Oct. 2018 . April 1, 1921.
  7. ^ The christian monitor (May 4, 1921). "MOTION PICTURES". 2) Special to the Christian Science Monitor from Its Eastern,News Office. "MOTION PICTURES." the Christian Science Monitor (1908-Current File) May 04 1921: 11.ProQuest. 22 Oct. 2018 .
  8. ^ "LIFE | TIME". Time. ISSN 0040-781X. Retrieved 2018-11-28.
  9. ^ Sherwood, Robert E. (December 29, 1921). "5) "THE SILENT DRAMA."". 5) "THE SILENT DRAMA." Life (1883-1936) Dec 29 1921: 24. ProQuest. 22 Oct. 2018 .
  10. ^ Sherwood, Robert E (April 14, 1921). "THE SILENT DRAMA". 4) Sherwood, Robert E. "THE SILENT DRAMA." Life (1883-1936) Apr 14 1921: 540. ProQuest. 22 Oct. 2018 .
  11. ^ Sherwood, Robert E. (April 21, 1921). "THE SILENT DRAMA". 4) Sherwood, Robert E. "THE SILENT DRAMA." Life (1883-1936) Apr 14 1921: 540. ProQuest. 22 Oct. 2018 .
  12. ^ a b 1)   "July 3, 1921 (Page 45 of 60)." The Minneapolis Morning Tribune (1909-1930) Jul 03 1921: 45. ProQuest. 22 Oct. 2018 .

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