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Jenny Be Good

Jenny Be Good
Jenny Be Good (1920) - Ad 1.jpg
Directed byWilliam Desmond Taylor
Screenplay byJulia Crawford Ivers
Based onJenny Be Good
by Wilbur Finley Fauley
StarringMary Miles Minter
Jay Belasco
Margaret Shelby
Fred R. Stanton
Sylvia Ashton
J. Edwin Brown
CinematographyJames Van Trees
Realart Pictures Corporation
Distributed byRealart Pictures Corporation
Release date
  • May 30, 1920 (1920-05-30)
Running time
6 reels
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent (English intertitles)

Jenny Be Good is a 1920 American silent drama film directed by William Desmond Taylor and starring Mary Miles Minter, based on a novel by Wilbur Finley Fauley[1] and adapted for the screen by Julia Crawford Ivers.[2] It is the last of Minter's films to also feature her older sister Margaret Shelby in a supporting role. As with many of Minter's features, it is believed to be a lost film.[3]


Mary Miles Minter and her sister Margaret Shelby in "Jenny Be Good" (1920)
Mary Miles Minter and her sister Margaret Shelby in "Jenny Be Good" (1920)

As described in film magazine reviews,[4][5][6] Jenny Riano (Minter), is an orphaned girl and a talented violinist, who is raised by her grandmother Nancy Beedle (Fisher). She falls in love with Royal Renshaw (Belasco), who is the son of the wealthy social climber Sophia Shuttles (Ashton) by her first husband. Mrs. Shuttles hopes to find a socially advantageous match for her son, and so does not approve of his relationship with Jenny. She would much prefer to see Royal wed to Jolanda Van Mater (Shelby), whose mother has the status that Mrs. Shuttles desires.

Despite his mother's wishes, Royal weds Jenny in secret. When his mother finds out, she forces him to take a yachting holiday and, telling Jenny that he has abandoned her, convinces her to annul the marriage. Jenny's grandmother dies, and she travels to the city to become a concert violinist.

When Royal returns, he is unable to find Jenny, and his parents marry him to Jolanda. Jolanda, however, has become a drug fiend, after initially being given dope by local tea room owner Polly Primrose (Wallace) as a cure for a headache. Royal, who cannot forget Jenny, decides to commit Jolanda to a sanatorium. However, when she realises where he is driving her, Jolanda seizes the wheel of Royal's automobile and steers the car over a cliff.

Jolanda is killed in the crash, and Royal's life hangs in the balance. In hospital, he calls out constantly for Jenny, and his parents eventually relent and search for her. Jenny abandons her musical career to rush to Royal's side. With Jenny's care, Royal recovers, and the two are once again wed, openly this time.

The May 15th, 1920 edition of Motion Picture News lists a musical cue sheet for the film.[7]


  • Mary Miles Minter as Jenny Riano
  • Jay Belasco as Royal Renshaw
  • Margaret Shelby as Jolanda Van Mater
  • Fred R. Stanton as Aaron Shuttles
  • Sylvia Ashton as Sophia Shuttles
  • J. Edwin Brown as Professor Gene Jiggs
  • Lillian Rambeau as Mrs. Van Mater
  • Catherine Wallace as Polly Primrose
  • Fanny Cossar as Clementina Jiggs
  • Maggie Fisher as Nancy Beedle
  • Grace Pike as Mrs. Rossiter-Jones


  1. ^ ""Jenny Be Good" Next Realart Minter Drama". Exhibitors Herald. Chicago: Exhibitors Herald Co. 10 (20): [1]. May 15, 1920.
  2. ^ "Minter's Next Announced". Motion Picture News. New York City: Motion Picture News, Inc. 21 (20): [2]. May 8, 1920.
  3. ^ The Library of Congress/FIAF American Silent Feature Film Survival Catalog: Jenny Be Good
  4. ^ "Reviews: Jenny Be Good". Wid's Daily. New York: Wid’s Film and Film Folks inc. 12 (46): 12. May 16, 1920.
  5. ^ "The Complete Plan Book: Jenny Be Good". Motion Picture News. New York City: Motion Picture News, Inc. 21 (21): [3]. May 15, 1920.
  6. ^ "Latest Reviews and Comments: Jenny Be Good". Moving Picture World. New York City: Chalmers Publishing Company. 44 (7): [4]. May 15, 1920.
  7. ^ "Music: Jenny Be Good". Motion Picture News. New York City: Motion Picture News, Inc. 21 (21): [5]. May 15, 1920.

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Jenny Be Good
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