If you asked me to recommend a good “starter” Mary Pickford film, one that captures her at her most Pickfordian (that can be a word, yes?), I would have to think it over. There’s so many classics to choose from…her Biograph shorts, features like Tess of the Storm Country (1914) and Daddy-Long-Legs (1919)…it’s a little like trying to decide which decadent cheesecake is the best. Every cheesecake is decadent.
Especially Mary’s recipe.
If I had to stick to short films, my choice would be The New York Hat (1912). But if I had to decide between her features, I might settle on the charming, funny Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1917). Continue reading
Before Edwardian audiences knew her name, they knew the confident, talented young movie actress by a distinct feature: her curls. Long, lustrous and always impeccably arranged, they quickly earned Mary Pickford the nickname of “the Girl with the Curls”–a nickname which has, in one way or another, stuck around ever since.
“The Biograph Girl”! The title once belonged to Florence Lawrence, the first film actor to be recognized by name. But when Lawrence left the Biograph fold in 1909, the title passed on to a new ingenue: young former theater actress Mary Pickford.
Pickford’s Biographs can get overlooked, but they are wildly important to her career. Not only did D.W. Griffith’s tutelage help her learn the ropes of film acting very quickly–so quickly that the strong-willed actress soon began to insist on her own ideas for interesting performances–but during her time at 11 East 14th Street she fell in love with the movies. Continue reading
When you think of the figures in film history that are household names, several examples spring to mind: directors like Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, and Orson Welles, and actors like James Stewart, Marilyn Monroe, and Marlon Brando. How about really early Hollywood names? Well, there’s Charlie Chaplin, you say. And also…well…err, yes, Chaplin.
But if there’s any name that (also) deserves a status in film history as large as the heads on Mount Rushmore, it’s DOUGLAS FAIRBANKS. Continue reading