“America’s Sweetheart”, as well as the first true movie star and Hollywood’s first real female financial mogul, Mary Pickford was larger than life in the last decade of the silent film. Although she gave strong performances in a variety of roles, she will always be remembered as a golden-haired, if grimy, teen or pre-teen, usually looking out zealously for younger orphans in her charge.
Haven't you seen Daddy-Long-Legs (1919)? This is my favorite Pickford film. She plays spunky Judy Abbott, the oldest orphan in a miserably run orphanage. Her very substantial acting ability shines through in this well-made 85-minute heartwarming comedy.
Watch this and then see these other four films.
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1917) Taken in by two aging spinster aunts, due to her parents’ severe poverty, Rebecca brings light and laughter to the crotchety old ladies and the snobbish town in which they live. Rebecca’s battles with arch-rival Minnie Smellie are classics!
Stella Maris (1918) Mary plays two roles in a challenging and quite impressive performance as a bedridden rich girl and a poor and abused, but determined waif, Unity Blake. One would have trouble realizing she was playing both parts if one didn’t know!
Sparrows (1926) This one has fewer comic moments and combines pathos with a little Indiana Jones and a touch of Nosferatu, with brilliantly eerie camerawork. Mary tries to lead younger fellow orphans through an alligator-infested swamp to escape a notorious “baby farm.” She is brilliant as always.
Her Best Girl (1927) Her last and (some say) best silent film, this is the only one of the lot I haven’t yet seen. Pickford wanted to close out her silent career with a winner and threw herself (and her money) into this grand finale.
Although Pickford showed promise in early sound movies (including her Oscar-winning work in Croquette), her domain was the silent film. She will live on as America’s pretty and sweet, but tough and spunky sweetheart of the silent cinema.
*Contributed by: "MarkMyWord" Date: Wed, Feb 8, 2006 / 23:01:23 PST
1928-1929 Best Actress in a Leading Role: COQUETTE
1975 Honorary and Other Awards: In recognition of her unique contributions to the film industry and the development of film as an artistic medium. Winner presented a Statuette.