Thursday, August 8, 2013

Mary Pickford Will Nurse Us All

Tonight was the CAPA Summer Movie Series screening of their annual silent film. A couple of years ago they showed Mary Pickford in Sparrows. It was the first film of hers I had seen and I rather enjoyed it despite her playing a teenager on film while in her late thirties.

This evening they brought back another Pickford film, The Little American, from 1917. It's a World War One film about an American woman who goes to France during the war to visit an ill relative. As you'd expect, things happen. It's a war, the United States is neutral at the time but there's plenty of anti-German sentiment. There are spies, one black servant and a very strange rescue at sea. There's also a love triangle, and some raping and pillaging that made me dislike the ending of the film. Overall it's a very entertaining ninety six year old movie.

Pickford is a force in this film, her talent and charisma is very obvious. She was one of the first major film stars, and the proof is on screen.

There was a technical glitch tonight, the film stopped about twenty minutes in for some unknown reason. Have to give live organist Clark Wilson props for doing a great improvisation during the two minutes or so that the screen was black. He's a very talented performer.

There was a short presented also. A World War One piece starring Pickford to get people to buy war bonds. I was tickled to see long time Chaplin foil Henry Bergman in a small role.

Also in attendance was author Christel Schmidt, author of a new book on Pickford. She gave a very informative and entertaining talk about Pickford's life and career before the feature. Nice touch by CAPA to add some good knowledge to the evening.

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