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Johanna Enlists 1918
Description: A young girl, stifling on her father's backwoods farm, is reinvigorated by the comeback of an units regiment, come to train in the area.
Released: 15 Sep 1918 Director: William Desmond Taylor Writers: Rupert Hughes (story "The Mobilizing of Johanna"), Frances Marion Actors: Mary Pickford, Anne Schaefer, Fred Huntley, Monte Blue Genres: Comedy, Romance
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Johanna Enlists Reviews:

Minor Pickford movie but still a treat as Mary plays Joahanna, a country woman who prays for a beau only to search an whole regiment of horse troops camping out in a field. They're en route to Europe but have to lay up because a young lieutenant is ill.Well tiny freckle-faced Johanna attracts the attention of the lieutenant (Emory Johnson), the company adjutant (Douglas MacLean), and a sad-sack personal (Monte Blue). The guys jockey for position while Johanna takes a ruin course (via magazines) on beauty (taking a milk bath in a wooden tub) and grace (dancing around in sheets a la Ruth St. Denis.Eventually the personal strikes the lieutenant and there is a court martial just before the regiment pulls out. But the officers seem more interested in which guy Johanna will select (especially after the charges are dropped).Lots of great tiny touches and bits of comedy. Pickford is of course unbelievable and adds a several surprises like the silhouette of her stripping and a stage of her in the bath. The guys are all solid. Wallace Beery has a tiny part as an officer, and that Wesley Barry as the freckly tiny brother.The movie was directed by William Desmond Taylor (the popular murder victim) and based on a storyline named "The Mobilization of Johanna" by Rupert Hughes. Frances Marion did the screenplay.The organ melody is uncredited but sounded familiar. My DVD has an alternative ending!


Mary Pickford was made an Honorary Colonel to the 143rd Field Artillery, a role she took seriously. She made frequent visits to Camp Kearney near San Diego, where they were stationed. She would review the troops, blew a unique silver whistle to begin the camp football games, and made sure the men had plenty of tobacco. She presented every one with a gold locket containing her picture, which were worn by the boys in action in France. When the government asked her to create a propaganda picture, Mary asked Frances Marion to write the scenario for Johanna Enlists, and the troops from the 143rd would appear throughout the film, going about their duties. Mary and Colonel Ralph J. Faneuf, commander of the 143rd, appear together in the last shot of the film, giving a salute to the camera. This film was made to be indirect propaganda , so subtle that not until the end, does the audience realize its intent. Near the end of the story, the troops obtain their orders to go overseas, and Johanna ( Mary Pickford ) rallies the men, not to come back until they have won the war. Peppered with plenty of comedy, Mary plays freckled faced Johanna who lives with her parents and siblings on a farm. Feeling homely and lonely , one day Johanna prays for a beau , and miraculously a regiment of troops come marching down the street and camp on the family farm. The gawky farm woman sets out to beautify herself and later two admiring troops war for her attention. Wesley Barry is comical as Johanna's bratty brother ,Monte Blue and Douglas MacLean enjoy the admiring troops along with a brief appearance of Wallace Beery as Colonel Fanner. Although not a classic Pickford movie it is interesting , amusing and worth a look for silent movie fans.


I have generally scored Mary Pickford's movies well. However, the score of 6, while about average, is definitely below average for her. Usually you receive better than what you'll see in "Johanna Enlists"--a movie with a relatively thin plot and lots and lots of patriotic nonsense.The movie starts on a rural farm. Pickford plays a girlish sort--much like she did in most of her films. However, this hero is becoming a young girl (although she was now 23 at the time Pickford made this film) and her thoughts are on love and a boyfriend. But, being in the middle of no where, her options are limited. In a pretty scene, she asks God for help---and only seconds later, a US Units outfit strolls along and decides to pitch camp right across from the farm! Much of the rest of the movie is devoted to determining who Johanna will get--the dashing officer (who she inexplicably disliked) or a young enlisted man. There is a bit of controversy involving two guys fighting over her, but frankly it was of tiny consequence. Then, at the end some blatantly patriotic items is tossed in to remind us that the US is involved in the fight and that Pickford hates the dreaded Hun.Basically this is an inconsequential movie with a lot of hubbub about the fight and patriotism stuck on, rather clumsily at the end. However, even with its shortcomings, it's everytime a delight to watch Pickford so I would still suggest it to her fans. But, if you aren't, she did create much better movies you could see first like "My Greatest Girl", "Suds" or "Daddy Long Legs" (among others).



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