Silent Take: “Despicable Me” circa 1922

Here it is! My view of what Despicable Me may have looked like if it had been made in 1922.

Silent Despicable Me

I realize that there is approximately 0 chance of Erich von Stroheim and Mary Pickford actually collaborating but you must admit that he is an ideal Gru. I know it is currently stylish in some circles to bash Mary Pickford’s child roles but I always found her charming. And the role of “boss orphan” was made for her. Ossi Oswalda’s rambunctiousness makes her perfect as Edith and she was petite enough to look the part. For sweet little Agnes, who better than Baby Peggy?

Marshall Neilan could do whimsy like no other director so he is the obvious choice. Yes, of course von Stroheim would probably have tried to take over but I think Neilan could handle himself pretty well.

With Rudolf Klein-Rogge (aka Dr. Mabuse) as Dr. Nefario, this film has taken on a decidedly Germanic flavor. And why not? If anyone could successfully make a cute film where the hero is a villain it would be a German cast.

Larry Semon was cast as Vector because, well, look at him!

Larry Semon
Larry Semon

And cute little Lupino Lane could easily play every single one of the Minions.

I hope you enjoy!


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  1. D Tenore-Bartilucci (@DorianTB)

    Erich Von Stroheim as Gru, co-starring Mary Pickford, Ossi Oswalda, and Baby Peggy is hilarious and absolutely inspired! Yes, they would have been spot-on for a silent version of DESPICABLE ME! Your posts are always great fun, but this clever take on DESPICABLE ME is my favorite of yours yet! Delightful, Fritzi, just delightful!

  2. Lê ^_^ (@startspreading)

    Recasting modern movies with classic / silent actors is so funny! I haven’t wacthed Descpicable Me (what a shame! I’ll have to it when the movie shows on cable TV), but this sounds amazing. Erich, Mary AND Baby Peggy in the same movie? Nobody could miss that.

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