For 55 of its 63 minutes, Making the Grade is a silent picture; only the opening sequence and a brief "radio broadcast" scene contain any dialogue. Based on a play by George Ade, the story focuses on Herbert Dodsworth (Edmund Lowe), the scion of a family of scrappers. Alas, Herbert is something of a wimp, unable to succeed at anything because he either tries too hard or not hard enough. Even his efforts to join a local fraternal organization come to naught when he fails to pass the far-from-insurmountable initiation proceedings. About to leave town in disgrace, Herbert is talked out of it by his sweetheart Lottie Ewing (Lois Moran), who insists that he stop trying to live up to his family's reputation and start believing in himself. Almost instantaneously, the lamb turns into a lion, confounding his enemies and proving his mettle as a "true Dodsworth."
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