My Best Girl (1927) & Sparrows (1926) (Mary Pickford double feature)
Friday and Saturday, Aug. 10-11, 2012:
A Mary Pickford double feature
My Best Girl
1927, USA, 80 minutes, 35mm, Milestone Film, silent with a musical score
Directed by Sam Taylor
Produced by Mary Pickford
Written by Kathleen Norris (story), Hope Loring (adaptation),
Allen McNeil (screenplay) and Tim Whelan (screenplay)
Starring Mary Pickford, Charles 'Buddy' Rogers, Sunshine Hart, Lucien Littlefield
Fri: 7:30 pm; Sat: 3:50 &; 7:30 pm
PLUS, on the same program:
1926, USA, 84 minutes, 35mm, Milestone Films, silent with a musical score
Directed by William Beaudine,Tom McNamara (uncredited)
Produced by Mary Pickford
Written by Winifred Dunn (story), George Marion Jr. (titles),
C. Gardner Sullivan (adaptation)
Starring Mary Pickford, Roy Stewart, Mary Louise Miller, Gustav von Seyffertitz
Fri: 9:10 pm; Sat: 5:30 &; 9:10 pm
This is a double feature:
your ticket admits you to both films
Synopsis of My Best Girl courtesy of Milestone Film:
Thanks to the superb work of Sam Taylor (one of Harold Lloyd's favorite directors), legendary cinematographer Charles Rosher and producer/star Mary Pickford, My Best Girl has become one of Hollywood's greatest romantic comedies, pairing Pickford with husband-to-be Charles "Buddy" Rogers.
Maggie is a lowly shopgirl in a big-city five-and-ten-cent store. She meets Joe who has just started out in the stockroom. Unbeknownst to her, Joe is the owner's son, trying to prove himself to his wealthy family. Falling in love with Maggie, Joe gives up his society sweetheart Millicent. Learning of this, the boy's father unsuccessfully tries to buy Maggie off. Realizing that because of her, Joe is going to be cut-off from his family, she poses as a floozy golddigger (in one of Mary Pickford's great comic scenes) to convince him to let her go. When the father finds out of her sacrifice, he discovers the error of his ways and agrees to their marriage.
Synopsis of Sparrows courtesy of Milestone Film:
Ernst Lubitsch called Sparrows “one of the eight wonders of the world” and this wonderful film still ranks as a masterpiece of Gothic suspense.
Hidden deep in the Southern swamps, the Grimes family operates a "baby farm" where unwanted or "lost" children are cruelly underfed and overworked. Mama Mollie (Pickford), the oldest of the kids, protects the others as best she can and keeps up their courage by telling them that God watches over them just as He does the smallest sparrow. When the police close in to rescue a kidnapped two-year-old who has been stashed at the farm, Grimes makes plans to throw the toddler into the bog. To save her little "sparrows," Mama Mollie leads them on an escape through the alligator-infested swamp in one of the most harrowing scenes in cinema history. This powerful Gothic suspense thriller was based on 1920s news reports of real life baby farms. Sparrows' elaborate sets and magnificent cinematography create a nightmare world that later inspired the classic film Night of the Hunter.
Hollywood's first major female superstar, the eternally youthful Mary Pickford commanded unprecedented clout in the industry, but her iconic status as "America's Sweetheart" has proved more enduring than the vehicles that put her there. A new series of reissues confirms her extraordinary comic and dramatic rangenot to mention her indefinable appeal as a movie starbut, more surprisingly, the films themselves prove more compelling than their reputations had previously suggested. With its stark religious overtones, creepy atmospherics, and concern with the perils facing orphaned children, Sparrows, a potent 1926 slice of Southern Gothic, was a huge influence on Charles Laughton's noir masterpiece Night Of The Hunter. In the Lillian Gish role, Pickford mothers a group of younger, forgotten kids toiling in a backwoods swamp for a cruel hick (Gustav von Seyffertitz) operating a "baby farm" far from the scrutiny of the law. When he threatens to toss a kidnapped infant into the gurgling bog, she leads them through alligator-infested waters to safety. Sparrows resembles a Brothers Grimm fairy tale in its vivid, harrowing textures; setting this dark world against Pickford's angelic face boldly demarcates the line between good and evil. Produced a year later, My Best Girl is considerably brighter and more programmatic, a frothy romantic comedy that showcases her effortless charm and deft slapstick skills. Pickford plays a modest clerk at a popular five-and-dime store who falls for the owner's son (Charles "Buddy" Rogers, her future husband), a clumsy new hire working incognito to prove himself to his father. A formulaic Cinderella story by design, My Best Girl coasts along on the stars' playful chemistry and their delightful running games of make-believe, which play into the film's mood of pure fantasy. It's a more typical role for Pickford than Sparrows, but her indomitable pluck can make even the most conventional romance seem accomplished.
- Scott Tobias, A.V. Club, March 29, 2002
New Beverly Cinema (View)
7165 W. Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036