Sunday Silents: Films of Mary Pickford

Sunday Silents: Films of Mary Pickford

Sunday, December 4th, 2016

3:00 pm  |  $7/$5 members

Mary Pickford, known as the first “star” of the silent movies, will be seen at the Rosendale Theatre. The Little Princess will be accompanied by two short subjects, including “The New York Hat,” a 1912 feature with Mary Pickford, Lionel Barrymore, and Lillian Gish. The third short film will be “The Unchanging Sea,” an early D.W. Griffith film featuring exciting views of the ocean with a compelling story.

Produced in 1917, The Little Princess shows Pickford in the most engaging guise of a little girl, mistreated, looking for her father who is lost during World War I.

Based on the book by Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Little Princess is the story of Sara Crewe (Pickford) a wealthy child treated as a little princess at the Minchin boarding school for children until it is learned that her father has lost his entire fortune, and she is made a slavey (a household servant).

Pickford was known as “America’s Sweetheart,” and was treasured by audiences of her day for her beauty and the charm she displayed in her portrayal of children. Diminutive in size, she was convincing as a child in spite of the fact that she had grown to womanhood on screen. She was an extraordinary actress and led an adventurous private life, bringing a unique personality to life on the silent screen. Director George Cukor often stated that Pickford invented screen acting and was the first method actress.

In The Little Princess she is joined by ZaSu Pitts, a shy and plain young character actress who made her first impact in this film. Screenwriter Frances Marion, an early figure in the American film industry, interviewed Pitts and recommended her to Mary Pickford who saw that she was cast in the role of Becky.

Marta Waterman will add her own authentic element, accompanying the program with original piano music.