The Brat. 1931. USA. Directed by John Ford. With Sally O’Neil, Alan Dinehart, Frank Albertson. DCP. 67 min.
A Park Avenue novelist (Alan Dinehart) fishes a street urchin (Sally O’Neil) out of a Lower East Side night court to serve as a model for a character in his new book. The resurrection of this small but engaging social comedy, restored by MoMA from the sole surviving original element—a badly damaged nitrate print—means that all of Ford’s extant sound films have been returned to circulation. Among the film's memorable moments is an evidently authentic pitched battle between the tiny O’Neil and the patrician Virginia Cherrill (the blind flower girl of Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights) that could be the kinkiest passage in Ford’s oeuvre. Restored by The Museum of Modern Art and The Film Foundation, with funding provided by the George Lucas Family Foundation and the Franco-American Cultural Fund, a unique partnership between the Directors Guild of America (DGA), the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), Société des Auteurs, Compositeurs et Editeurs de Musique (SACEM), and the Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW); courtesy Twentieth Century Fox.