Mary Pickford Foundation http://marypickford.org Marypickford.org is the official website of the foundation established by Mary Pickford. Here you can find the Mary Pickford Foundation's online research center featuring original videos and writings, an extensive photo gallery, a searchable database of films, rare movie clips, current events, classic film screenings, historical material and much more, as well as details of the Foundation’s new partnership with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Sun, 21 Aug 2016 16:14:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Jack Pickford Scrapbook http://marypickford.org/scrapbooks-from-the-academy/jack-pickford-scrapbook/ http://marypickford.org/scrapbooks-from-the-academy/jack-pickford-scrapbook/#respond Wed, 17 Aug 2016 16:00:12 +0000 http://marypickford.org/?p=3796 Jack Pickford, Mary’s younger brother, is the subject of Academy Scrapbook # 75. His entire life is covered here, including his acting appearances, his marriages to Olive Thomas and Marilyn Miller and his early death. Jack proved himself to be a talented actor, but his height (just a little over 5 feet tall) and a […]

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Jack Pickford, Mary’s younger brother, is the subject of Academy Scrapbook # 75. His entire life is covered here, including his acting appearances, his marriages to Olive Thomas and Marilyn Miller and his early death. Jack proved himself to be a talented actor, but his height (just a little over 5 feet tall) and a perennially boyish face were obstacles that he couldn’t overcome. And as others such as Micky Neilen and Raoul Walsh have testified, Jack loved the good life and was always up for party, yet he was much more than that as this unique scrapbook proves.

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How Mary Pickford and D.W. Griffith Learned From Each Other http://marypickford.org/caris-articles/mary-pickford-d-w-griffith-learned/ http://marypickford.org/caris-articles/mary-pickford-d-w-griffith-learned/#respond Tue, 09 Aug 2016 04:11:07 +0000 http://marypickford.org/?p=3790 If a true test of friendship is mutual respect, Mary Pickford and D.W. Griffith developed that early in their relationship and kept it up all their lives. Initially, he was the boss and then, when they founded United Artists together in 1919, they were partners, but whatever their circumstances, they kept the lines of communication […]

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If a true test of friendship is mutual respect, Mary Pickford and D.W. Griffith developed that early in their relationship and kept it up all their lives. Initially, he was the boss and then, when they founded United Artists together in 1919, they were partners, but whatever their circumstances, they kept the lines of communication open. In various interviews Mary conducted between 1955 and 1965, she often spoke of their unique relationship and, as this sampling bears out, they were both stubborn and opinionated, but always able to learn from each other.

In the oral history conducted for Columbia University, Mary delved into their early days of working together:

“[Mr. Griffith] was to some the great master which of course I never accepted. I respected him, I had an affection for him. but when he told me to do things I didn’t believe in, I wouldn’t do them….I would never object to anything of a technical nature; only when Mr. Griffith asked me to do something that made me feel foolish, like clapping my hands and saying ‘Oooo, look at the sweet little birdies.’

He said, ‘look at me.’ I said, ‘No.’ He said ‘I told you to look at me’ and I said, “Mr. Griffith, if I look at you, I’ll imitate you. And I don’t want to imitate you, I want to be myself.’ Oh, he was furious with me. I said ‘There’s enough people imitating you. I won’t overact.’”

“But he taught me a lot,” Mary told Kevin Brownlow when he interviewed her for his book, The Parade’s Gone By. “For instance in a picture, I came in a poor little girl and I had this miserable little coat on with a moth eaten fur collar and a funny little hat with a bird on it. I threw the hat on the bed and I threw the coat down. He stopped the camera. To stop the camera in those days I think it cost 2 cents a foot.

He said ‘Stop’ and he walked over to the set and he always called me Pickford. He said ‘You’ll never do that again. You never come in and throw the hat on the bed.’… You take off your coat and you don’t shake it and you don’t take care of it. You know, no heroine is untidy.’

I said ‘Yes, sir.’

He said ‘Now Pickford, you go back and come in again. Camera!’

I thought, Mr. Griffith is right. So I went outside and came in, took my coat off and shook it, brushed the fur, fixed the little bird on my hat, put it down on the chair, and put my coat on the back of the chair.

Mr. Griffith said, ‘Very good.’ That’s the way he would direct me.”

Even after Pickford had returned to the stage and then signed with Adolph Zukor to make films, she and Griffith stayed in touch. (She said that when she told Griffith she was leaving Biograph, there were “tears were in his eyes.”). The first film she made with Zukor was The Good Little Devil which Mary was the first to say “was very, very bad because we read all the lines from the play and it was dull, dreadfully slow.” But then came In the Bishop’s Carriage and Caprice. When she was briefly hospitalized in New York, Griffith visited her and she recounted the following conversation in the Columbia oral history:

“Mr. Griffith came in and said, ‘I want to give you some good advice, Pickford. You’re on the wrong track. Nobody will sit through five or six reels. It’s too long.’

So I said, ‘Mr. Griffith, before you make up your mind, please go and see the picture. It opens tomorrow night at 116th and Amsterdam, I think.’

So he did. It was In the Bishop’s Carriage. This is what I think proved he was a very real fine man. He couldn’t wait to get back to the hospital to tell me he was wrong. He was there the next morning at 9 o’clock and said, ‘You were right and I was wrong. Yes they will see when pictures are produced like that, they will sit through them. I’m changing my whole mode of operation.’”

Mary along with Lillian Gish, Richard Barthelmess and Griffith’s ex-wife, Evelyn Baldwin, at Griffith’s gravesite in Crestwood, Kentucky, 1950.“I had an affection for him, but it didn’t stop me from always questioning him,” Mary told Kevin Brownlow. “We remained, until the day of his death, very good friends.”

Griffith died in Hollywood in 1948 and was buried in a church grave yard near his childhood home in Crestwood, Kentucky. In 1950, Mary, along with Lillian Gish, Richard Barthlemess and Griffith’s ex-wife, Evelyn Baldwin, traveled there to place the large stone marker, provided by the Directors Guild, on his grave.

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D.W. Griffith http://marypickford.org/stories-by-marys-contemporaries/d-w-griffith/ http://marypickford.org/stories-by-marys-contemporaries/d-w-griffith/#respond Wed, 03 Aug 2016 22:40:13 +0000 http://marypickford.org/?p=3779 Mary Pickford and John D. Rockefeller by D.W. Griffith Mary Pickford first met D.W. Griffith in 1909 when she applied for work at Biograph studios and was hired on the spot for $5 dollars a week. She insisted upon $10 and got it. Mary told the story of getting her next raise from him a […]

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Mary Pickford and John D. Rockefeller by D.W. Griffith

D.W. GriffithMary Pickford first met D.W. Griffith in 1909 when she applied for work at Biograph studios and was hired on the spot for $5 dollars a week. She insisted upon $10 and got it. Mary told the story of getting her next raise from him a month later: “I demanded a $10 raise from Mr. Griffith because one morning two people recognized me in the subway. I got it, too. But he said it was not because I was any better an actress that morning than I was two weeks before. He said he’d give his entire salary if someone who recognize him, just once.” [i]

So the issue of salary was one near and dear to their hearts and one with a long history by the early 1920s. By then, they were both founders of United Artists, but their financial situations were very different. Because Mary had insisted on portions of her profits along with the highest salary of any actress (and had a mother who was her astute agent/manager and banker), she had accumulated a small fortune before putting her own money on the line to found United Artists. Griffith on the other hand had depended on the honesty of managers and distributors of his films and they had short changed him severely, often accumulating a fortune themselves in the process.

Yet clearly Griffith held no grudges when he was asked by the Mirror in the early 1920s what he thought of the high salaries paid to stars in an article entitled Mary Pickford and John D. Rockefeller under the byline of D.W Griffith. While economists might argue with his rationale, Griffith’s love and appreciation of Mary, and movies in general, shines through his interesting response:

D.W. Griffith and Mary PickfordIt is said that John D. Rockefeller receives $50,000,000 annually from the American public. Mary Pickford’s weekly salary check is reported to be $20,000. If these statements are true, and I believe that they are, then Mary Pickford is greatly underpaid. A great writer has written that sincerity is the basis of all great things. Mary Pickford has endeared herself to millions of persons, particularly children, throughout the world, through her ability to bring sunshine, love and laughter into their lives. This at a minimum cost of time and money within reach of all. It is her sincerity that is the answer. If the income of the oil magnate is based on merit, then Mary Pickford’s salary, compared to what it should be, is like measuring a ray of light with the sun, or comparing a drop of water with the ocean. The public is willing to pay almost any price of admission for good pictures. Produce good pictures and the old law of supply and demand will settle the admission price.

– Cari Beauchamp


[i] Pickford interview, Columbia Oral History Project, Pg 65

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Little Annie Rooney July 16 at the Egyptian http://marypickford.org/events-announcements/little-annie-rooney-restoration-screening/ http://marypickford.org/events-announcements/little-annie-rooney-restoration-screening/#respond Fri, 03 Jun 2016 20:24:32 +0000 http://marypickford.org/?p=3760 On July 16, the Mary Pickford Foundation, the American Cinematheque and Seeking our Story will present the surround sound premiere of Mary Pickford’s Little Annie Rooney at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. This 4K high definition restoration with an original modern soundtrack provides today’s audience with the ultimate viewing experience of this 90 year old film. […]

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On July 16, the Mary Pickford Foundation, the American Cinematheque and Seeking our Story will present the surround sound premiere of Mary Pickford’s Little Annie Rooney at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. This 4K high definition restoration with an original modern soundtrack provides today’s audience with the ultimate viewing experience of this 90 year old film.

Little Annie Rooney 4k Restoration Screening PosterThe process of restoring and scoring this Little Annie Rooney took several years. The original tinted nitrate print in Mary Pickford’s personal collection at the Library of Congress, made from the camera negative in 1925, was brought to the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences archive in Los Angeles.

Through the Mary Pickford Foundation’s extraordinary, multi-year partnership with AMPAS, the Academy Film Archive preserved the film photochemically, creating new 35mm preservation masters and prints.

The preservation master was then scanned at 4K resolution so that the MPF, in cooperation with AMPAS, could create a digital version, evaluating the film frame by frame, removing dirt and other signs of deterioration to perfectly match the original nitrate tints and tones.

Then, through the MPF Composition Program at Pepperdine University, an extremely gifted young composer, Andy Gladbach, was chosen to create a new sound track for the film. Mentored by professionals, Gladbach was joined by a 16 piece orchestra that included three percussionists, as well as a conductor and engineers, to record his original music.

The end result combines and showcases the finest work of artists, craftspeople and musicians from this century and from 1925.

Tickets: https://goo.gl/ZG70GO

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Raoul Walsh http://marypickford.org/stories-by-marys-contemporaries/raoul-walsh/ http://marypickford.org/stories-by-marys-contemporaries/raoul-walsh/#respond Sun, 15 May 2016 17:17:47 +0000 http://marypickford.org/?p=3735 Raoul Walsh on the Pickford Family Raoul Walsh was born in New York City on March 11, 1887 and attended several schools including Seton Hall in New Jersey before dropping out, making his way to Europe on a cattle boat, and then heading to Texas where he worked briefly as a cowboy. Walsh suffered a […]

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Raoul Walsh on the Pickford Family

Raoul WalshRaoul Walsh was born in New York City on March 11, 1887 and attended several schools including Seton Hall in New Jersey before dropping out, making his way to Europe on a cattle boat, and then heading to Texas where he worked briefly as a cowboy. Walsh suffered a leg injury, discovered the stage during his recuperation and was soon was acting in films. He was putting his experience with horses to work in Westerns (filmed in the East) for Pathé when Christy Cabanne, a Biograph actor and director, brought him into the Biograph fold. Walsh became friendly with Jack Pickford and when he made his first visit to the Pickford’s New York home, Walsh knew he and Jack would both be joining Griffith and the company in California for the winter of 1914.

It has been said of Mrs. Smith, Mary Pickford’s mother, that she was the smartest woman in the motion-picture industry. It was she who had persuaded Griffith to take her son Jack and Lottie, the elder daughter, to California. She had taken Mary away from Biograph and was bargaining over Mary’s new contracts. She was the first agent to make Hollywood producers tear their hair.

Jack PickfordI had met Jack Pickford, then fifteen [actually almost 18] and knew him for a handsome lad. He had everything necessary to make him a successful actor—looks, personality, acting ability, and the brand of empathy that goes over with the public. The sole drawback was one he could not remedy. He was only a few inches over five feet tall. In his sister Mary, this lack of height was appealing and suited the parts she was given to play. In her brother, it was a disaster. At that time, no director would cast a short man in a leading role.

Jack and I got on well together. He was always fascinated when I handled my rope. He invited me home to meet his family, and when his mother heard that I was going West, she urged me to keep an eye on her son. “He’s a good boy but inclined to wildness sometimes,” she told me. Mary joined in, mentioning how much Jack admired me.

“He thinks of you as his older brother,” America’s future sweetheart said. “Take care of him, please.” Mary had just signed a contract with Famous Players, but she and her mother would not arrive in California until later. She put her arms around me and kissed me. “You’re my big brother, too.” Afterward, she did this every time we met, hugging my neck and inquiring, “How’s my big brother today?” Years later, when I lost my right eye in Utah, Mary was among the first to telephone and wanted to send her own doctor to Salt Lake City.

Mary Pickford and Jack Pickford

When the company assembled at Grand Central Station to entrain for the Coast, we looked like the passengers of a people’s Noah’s ark. In addition to Griffith and his studio manager, Frank Woods, there were two other directors besides Christy Cabanne. The chief cameraman was Billy Blitzer, who was responsible for so many “firsts” on the screen with Griffith. The cast of character actors, actresses, comedians, and juveniles included the Gish sisters, Walthall, and Donald Crisp. With myself, Jack and Lottie Pickford, and a small army of technicians and grips, this was the task force assembled to invade California….

Griffith called us together the first day and Frank Woods walked out into the middle of the stage and made a speech. He asked us to remember that people in California were not yet used to motion pictures and screen actors. “I hope you’ll all behave like ladies and gentlemen now that you’ve left the four-letter words and the tantrums back in New York.” He thanked us for listening and we applauded and some of the cast promptly went out and got drunk….

Charlotte and MaryAt that time, most of the real estate around Fine Arts [Sunset Blvd just west of Virgil] was cow pasture or under citrus cultivation. On the south end of the lot were four or five houses and a barn, with a dirt road leading into an orange grove. Some of the company took up residence in the houses and Frank Woods stocked the barn with gymnasium equipment. This was an inducement to physical workouts to keep us in condition and out of trouble until we were needed. The bars and rings and weights kept some of the more energetic ones off the streets and out of the saloons.

Jack Pickford behaved himself, but in line with my promise to his mother and Mary, I found a bungalow not far from the studio and rented it. Jack and I stayed there and paid a woman to come in and cook breakfast and clean up. As it turned out, he was merely holding his breath while he looked around and found some mischief to get into. Nobody could ride herd on Mary’s vivacious brother for very long.

Walsh stayed with D.W. Griffith for several years, learning his craft. Walsh switched between directing and acting, playing the role of John Wilkes Booth in The Birth of Nation. Walsh directed Douglas Fairbanks in The Thief of Bagdad in 1924 and co-starred with and directed Gloria Swanson in the then very risqué Sadie Thompson in 1928. That same year, Walsh lost an eye in a car accident when a rabbit went through his windshield. He sported an eye patch from then on, focusing exclusively on directing and excelling at it for the next thirty five years. In 1930, he cast the still unknown Marion Morrison, billed as John Wayne, for the first time in a major role in The Big Trail. Dramas, romances, westerns, historical sagas and crime films – Walsh directed them all. He worked with such diverse actors such as James Cagney, Errol Flynn, Marion Davies, Mae West, Clark Gable, Humphrey Bogart, Jack Benny, Olivia de Havilland, Laurence Olivier, and Rita Hayworth, yet he was never nominated for an Academy Award. Raoul Walsh died at the age of 93 on December 31, 1980 in Simi Valley, California.

– Cari Beauchamp

Excerpted from Raoul Walsh’s Each Man in His Time: The Life Story of a Director. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 1974.

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Discovering ZaSu Pitts http://marypickford.org/caris-articles/discovering-zasu-pitts/ http://marypickford.org/caris-articles/discovering-zasu-pitts/#respond Tue, 15 Mar 2016 19:47:35 +0000 http://marypickford.org/?p=3655 ZaSu Pitts (named after her two maiden aunts, Eliza and Susan) was born in Kansas in January of 1894 and when she was five, her father died. Her mother decided to move ZaSu, her two older brothers and herself to Santa Cruz, a small beach town on the Northern California coast and they ran a […]

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ZaSu Pitts (named after her two maiden aunts, Eliza and Susan) was born in Kansas in January of 1894 and when she was five, her father died. Her mother decided to move ZaSu, her two older brothers and herself to Santa Cruz, a small beach town on the Northern California coast and they ran a boarding house there. Business, however, was mostly seasonal so with money very tight, ZaSu decided, like so many other young women in the teens, to try her luck in the movies. She had a couple of small roles in a few short films behind her when she went to nearby Pleasanton where Mary Pickford was filming Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. ZaSu was cast as an extra and then followed the company back to Los Angeles.

ZaSu Pitts circa 1917Frances Marion was finishing the script for Mary’s next film, A Little Princess, when a young man from the casting office called to say he was bringing over “a maiden fairer than Aphrodite” for her consideration. He walked in a few minutes later escorting a thin, awkward young woman with enormous eyes and Frances’s first reaction was to think that she looked like “a trapped little animal.” But when the man said, “beauty like this should not go unnoticed,” Frances threw him out of her office and admonished the girl, now with tears in her eyes, to pay no attention him. [i]

“Tell me about yourself,” Frances said in an effort to make her comfortable and without any evidence of self-pity, the visitor talked about her early childhood in Kansas, her father’s death and the family’s move to Santa Cruz. She had found some work with Universal, but had little luck at other studios. Zasu told Frances that she had even met D.W. Griffith, but he said she looked too much like Lillian Gish to be in any of his pictures. It was the nicest thing anyone had ever said to her.

As Frances watched and listened, she didn’t know whether to laugh or cry and it occurred to her that others might be touched as she was. There was a part in A Little Princess for a young maid called a slavey and Frances went to Mary with the idea of casting ZaSu. When Mary heard the whole story, including the remarks made by the man from the casting office, she approved immediately. [ii]

ZaSu and Mary Pickford in A Little Princess

Mickey Neilan agreed that ZaSu was “perfect for the part” and records the following story in his memoirs:

ZaSu must have become inspired by something because she did a couple of dramatic scenes that were wonderful. Mrs. Pickford, always alert to protect het little brood from any direction, whether it was Mary, Lottie or Jack, saw these scenes in the projection room which we were running her the daily rushes.

Afterward, as we were all walking back towards Mary’s dressing room, she took me aside and said, ‘That girl is good, Mickey – in fact she’s too good, now can’t we just cut the scene out of the picture?’

I thought it best to humor her and I said, ‘Charlotte, Mary and I try in every way to get the best talent to play in these pictures which goes to make good and sometimes great pictures. One bad actor or actress can sometimes throw this picture way off key, spoiling the entire illusion we are trying to create.’

‘But Mickey,’ she exploded, ‘she’s stealing the picture.’

‘Oh, nonsense,’ I replied. ‘She is supposed to dominate this scene to make the situation real and believable.’ Charlotte squared off and her little hat slid down almost over her eye. ‘Now you listen to me you stubborn Irish…’ A quiet voice but carrying authority intruded into our little argument.

‘Mother, Mickey is absolutely right and tomorrow I am going to ask him to make a close-up of Zasu in this scene. She is simply marvelous and people will see her and talk about her, but best of all they’ll talk about My Picture which is what sells tickets.’

Mother Pickford, with the quick understanding of the Celt, quietly put her arm around my shoulder and said, ‘Well what chance have I got between you two Irish larks… Hum! Sell tickets? Well, come on, let’s go home. We’ve got to take that added scene of that wonderful girl tomorrow.’ Mary gave me the knowing wink and led her mother gently away. [iii]

ZaSu and Mary Pickford in A Little Princess

ZaSu Pitts in the mid 1920sWhen A Little Princess was released in November of 1917, it was a huge success and Moving Picture World was not the only one to make special mention of the actress playing the young slavey; “Watch ZaSu Pitts, for she is a coming star.”[iv] Still, Zukor and Lasky did not put ZaSu under contract and while she appeared in another Pickford film, How Could You, Jean?, she went on to play a variety of roles at different studios before starring in Erich von Stroheim’s Greed in 1924. She was critically well-received in several serious roles including von Stroheim’s The Wedding March. Yet in between she became familiar to movie-goers as a comedienne, so when she appeared as Lew Ayres’ dying mother in All Quiet on the Western Front in 1930, the audience at the first preview began laughing as soon as she came on the screen. Her heart-wrenching speech could not be heard over the laughter and it was clear ZaSu was so identified with farcical roles, the scene would have to be reshot with another actress.[v]

Painting of ZaSu by Frances Marion from the early 1950sZaSu went back to playing comedic parts and focused on raising her daughter Ann and Don, Barbara LaMarr’s son she adopted after the star’s death. In the early 1930s, ZaSu divorced her husband, the promoter and sportsman Tom Gallery, and she was concerned about her finances. Frances Marion stayed friends with ZaSu over the years and, whenever possible, wrote parts in her films especially for her, such as the role of Gert in Blondie of the Follies starring Marion Davies.[vi]

ZaSu managed to work fairly consistently and grew into being a familiar character actress. She moved into performing on live television in the 1950s and was introduced to a new generation by playing Gale Storm’s sidekick from 1956 through 1960 in the situation comedy Oh Susannah! ZaSu’s final film appearance was in It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World in 1963, the same year she passed away in Hollywood at the age of 69.

 


 

[i].Marion, Hollywood, page 115

[ii]. Eliza + Susan = Zasu, Alfred A. Cohn, Photoplay, April, 1919; DeWitt Bodeen, ZaSu Pitts, Films in Review June-July 1980; Hollywood, page 116

[iii] Mickey Neilan, Hollywood Echos, unpublished memoir

[iv]. “watch for..” Marion Howard review, MPW Dec 22, 1917

[v]. DeWitt Bodeen, Zasu Pitts, Films in Review, June 1980; Beryl Mercer replaced her in the sound film, but ZaSu was left in the silent version.

[vi]. Los Angeles Times, Jan 15, 1932; Los Angeles Times, April 27, 1932. Don Gallery was never sure who his biological father was, but strongly suspected that he was MGM producer Paul Bern.

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The Restoration of Rosita http://marypickford.org/events-announcements/the-restoration-of-rosita/ http://marypickford.org/events-announcements/the-restoration-of-rosita/#respond Fri, 04 Mar 2016 21:23:49 +0000 http://marypickford.org/?p=3640 MoMA film preservationists discuss the restoration on CBS This Morning The Museum of Modern Art, in cooperation with the Mary Pickford Foundation, is restoring the Mary Pickford silent Rosita (1923) from the last known surviving nitrate print found at Gosfilmofond in Russia. Pickford was instrumental in bringing the German director Ernst Lubitsch to America and […]

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Rosita Doug Lubitsch


MoMA film preservationists discuss the restoration on CBS This Morning

The Museum of Modern Art, in cooperation with the Mary Pickford Foundation, is restoring the Mary Pickford silent Rosita (1923) from the last known surviving nitrate print found at Gosfilmofond in Russia. Pickford was instrumental in bringing the German director Ernst Lubitsch to America and Rosita was the first film he made in the United States. The Pickford Foundation is providing access to our 35mm elements to assist in the restoration. Other groups partnering with MoMA include The Film Foundation and the Mayer Foundation.

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Spotlight on Guest Composer Missy Mazzoli http://marypickford.org/film-scoring-project/spotlight-guest-composer-missy-mazzoli/ http://marypickford.org/film-scoring-project/spotlight-guest-composer-missy-mazzoli/#respond Wed, 17 Feb 2016 00:51:02 +0000 http://marypickford.org/?p=3624 Missy Mazzoli is a much in-demand, internationally renowned composer and performer, yet she chose to accept the Mary Pickford Foundation’s offer to spend a week working alongside the student composers and their professor, N. Lincoln Hanks, at Pepperdine University as they create a new score for Mary Pickford’s A Little Princess. “We conducted an extensive search for […]

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Missy MazzoliMissy Mazzoli is a much in-demand, internationally renowned composer and performer, yet she chose to accept the Mary Pickford Foundation’s offer to spend a week working alongside the student composers and their professor, N. Lincoln Hanks, at Pepperdine University as they create a new score for Mary Pickford’s A Little Princess.

“We conducted an extensive search for a guest composer,” said Pickford Foundation President Henry Stotsenberg. “Missy Mazzoli was our first choice because of her impressive body of work, her unique ability to weave rock with classical and her proven track record of appealing to a broader audience. We were honored when she accepted.”

Mazzoli said she wanted to join in the process because it was an opportunity to “do something new and teach in a different way.” The challenge of having student composers each write music for different sections of a film and then weave them together was a challenge that intrigued her. “Silent film is interesting and strange,” Mazzoli says with a smile, adding that “the idea of young composers writing a new score is a great way to bring new audiences to silent films. It’s a way to present a new slant to these great, beautiful films.”

Missy Mazzoli working with composer Max GinnellThe New York Times has called Mazzoli “one of the more consistently inventive, surprising composers now working” and her music has been performed throughout the world, but teaching and providing her unique insights remains important to her. She hopes that “acting as a sounding board and providing a fresh ear, without a history with the composers” will help elevate the score that eventually results.

“The nature of film composing is that you are collaborating with Mary Pickford,” Mazzoli says. “The real challenge is keeping the composer’s own style, but collaborating with each other and the film. My favorite film score illuminates the psychology of each character.”

On Saturday, April 9 of 2016, the project will culminated with the premiere of the student composers’ scores during the screening of A Little Princess at Pepperdine’s Amphitheater.

– Cari Beauchamp

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The World’s Mary http://marypickford.org/stories-from-the-scrapbooks/the-worlds-mary/ http://marypickford.org/stories-from-the-scrapbooks/the-worlds-mary/#respond Mon, 15 Feb 2016 23:21:34 +0000 http://marypickford.org/?p=3561 In today’s world of global social media outlets, celebrities have a broader fan base than ever before. Some, such as Katy Perry and Taylor Swift, have numbers as high as seventy million fans on Facebook and Twitter. That is a sizable portion of the world’s population, but now imagine having that same percentage of people […]

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In today’s world of global social media outlets, celebrities have a broader fan base than ever before. Some, such as Katy Perry and Taylor Swift, have numbers as high as seventy million fans on Facebook and Twitter. That is a sizable portion of the world’s population, but now imagine having that same percentage of people knowing your name before the invention of the internet, television or even radio. This is what Mary Pickford achieved in the 1910s and ’20s—a name and likeness instantly recognizable to the farthest reaches of the planet.

Pickford’s international impact is illustrated in the Academy’s Scrapbook #21, an enormous fan-made book featuring magazine and newspaper articles showcasing the “Mary Pickfords” of different nations. These clippings make it clear that Mary set the global standard for motion picture fame in her era. Back then, if a foreign film star attracted enough adoring fans, she was dubbed the “Mary Pickford” of her country, meaning she had reached the absolute pinnacle within her industry.

The World's Mary - Academy Scrapbook #21 detailNo one who witnessed Mary Pickford’s unprecedented rise to global fame is alive today, so the modern world has a hard time grasping just how popular she was. In 1915, it was estimated that more people in Chicago and New York alone viewed Mary in a year than looked upon Napoleon in the course of his whole life. Journalist Adela Rogers St. Johns called Mary “the woman who was known to more people and loved by more people than any other woman that has been in all history.” By 1918, the actress the public once called “Our Mary” had grown into “The World’s Mary.”

The Scandinavian Mary Pickford - Academy Scrapbook #21 detailOnce the name Mary Pickford was universally synonymous with being the biggest and the best, other “Mary Pickfords” began appearing in various parts of the world. There was Mexico’s answer to Mary Pickford, Emma Padilla; the Mary Pickford of Russia was called Marie Judah; the Scandinavian Mary Pickford was Ann Forest of Denmark, the list goes on and on. These stars were not necessarily emulating Mary in any way, but they were promoted as examples of their national cinema’s brightest ingénues.

Being crowned the Mary Pickford of one’s country served another purpose—it attracted the attention of Hollywood. Popular actresses from the far corners of the globe sent their photos to film companies and to the American press, hoping to be discovered and whisked into Tinseltown where they might follow in the real Mary’s footsteps. In the late 1910s, French star Suzanne Grandais was considered “the only one able to interpret ingénue Mary Pickford roles” in her country. A publicity campaign was built around her as the Mary Pickford of France, and she was planning a trip to Hollywood to try her luck at American films when she was killed in a car accident in 1920. “Her countrymen idolized her much as we do our Mary,” read her obituary in a U.S. movie magazine.

"Mary Pickford of France" headline - Academy Scrapbook #21 detail

Mr. Klange  and Mrs. Lowenstrom - Academy Scrapbook #21 detailSome countries produced multiple Marys. Scrapbook clippings indicate that Italian screen stars Soava Gallone and Delza Mona Mazza were both referred to as the Mary Pickford of Italy. England boasted three Mary Pickfords: Alma Taylor, Queenie Thomas and Betty Balfour. Sweden had four Mary Pickfords and one of them, Sigrid Holmquist—also known as Sweden’s Sweetheart—made the leap to Hollywood and was moderately successful in silents for a few years. Swedish audiences seemed particularly fond of Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, and their look-alikes (known as Mr. Klange and Mrs. Lowenstrom) gained fame from impersonating Doug and Mary in Stockholm stage shows.

"Mary Pickford of India" Zubeda Sahebzadi - Academy Scrapbook #21 detailThe Mary Pickford of China, Lee Shut Moy of Hong Kong, reportedly had the distinction of being the “world’s youngest leading woman,” starring in pictures at only sixteen. India’s sweetheart Zubeda Sahebzadi could have given her a run for her money—she found screen stardom at sixteen as well. But the Japanese Mary Pickford may be the most unique of them all; his name was Teijiro Tachibana, and he was renowned for his convincingly delicate and demure heroines. Because Japanese cinema was rooted in the traditions of the noh and kabuki theatrical dramas in which men played women’s roles, male actors typically portrayed females in early Japanese silent films. Tachibana played women exclusively until his death in 1918 at age twenty-five.

"Mary Pickford of Japan" - Academy Scrapbook #21 detail

Komaka  Sunada, the female "Mary Pickford of Japan" meets Douglas Fairbanks and Mary - Academy Scrapbook #21 detailLater, Japan also gained a female Mary Pickford. Komaka Sunada was a popular young leading lady of a Japanese film company who wished to meet the real Pickford in person, and whose wish was granted in 1927. A small image survives of Sunada presenting gifts to Mary and Doug when she visited Hollywood to study American filmmaking.

Earning the title “Mary Pickford of…” was not limited to geographical locations. It was sometimes bestowed upon a Pickfordesque performer in another field, such as stage ingénue Edna Northlane, known as the Mary Pickford of Vaudeville, or May Collins, the Mary Pickford of Industrial Pictures, who starred in Dr. Francis Holley’s educational films exhibited free from a Washington, D.C. mobile classroom truck in the early 1920s.

"Mary Pickford of Dogdom" - Academy Scrapbook #21 detailIt seems that practically everyone sought a slice of Mary Pickford’s fame in the silent film era. Remarkably, there was even a Mary Pickford of Dogdom. Champion Sherwood Nichu was a prize-winning Pekingese diva of aristocratic breeding who won acclaim at dog shows across the country before retiring to her comfortable home in San Mateo, California. According to Scrapbook #21, Nichu counted among her admirers “many princesses and dukes,” and was “simply wild about intoxicating liqueurs.”

This scrapbook also contains a 1920 article about Mary Pickford’s professional stand-in Louise DuPre, called an “understudy” in the days before the term “stand-in” was used. According to Motion Picture Classic magazine, DuPre—who closely resembled Mary and was exactly her size—had her “dream come true” by working as Mary’s double. “Over all the surface of the world, wherever motion pictures are shown,” journalist Charles G. Rich wrote, “and that means everywhere except in the deserts, the mountain fastnesses, the forest and the jungle, little girls and big girls too … have stood long and often before their mirrors and have tried to find in the reflection something that resembled the great Mary Pickford.”

Mary Pickford's Understudy - Academy Scrapbook #21 detailAs imitation is said to be the sincerest form of flattery, Mary may have been flattered by her worldwide admirers, but she saw herself as a symbol. “I do not believe that any one person in the world is big enough for the acclaim of many thousand earnest people,” she wrote after touring China, Japan, Egypt and India with Doug in 1930. “The cheering crowds in the Far East were shouting not for me but for the American motion picture, the American people and the world of make-believe.”

Mary Pickford represented the American motion picture industry to millions for well over a decade. Pasted into the pages of scrapbook #21 is a magazine clipping from circa 1923 that questions the future of the movies without her. “Who will succeed Mary Pickford when she retires from the screen? The question is being asked frequently nowadays. We think we can answer it. Namely: no one.”

Mary Pickford Cartoon - Academy Scrapbook #21 detail

While celebrity worship has saturated our twenty-first-century culture, no one truly has succeeded in becoming known globally on the same level as Mary in her day. She seems to have been as revered in China or India or Russia as she was in North America. Even with the aid of Instagram, how many Hollywood stars can claim the same today?

Academy Scrapbook #21 can be seen in its entirety here.

Sources

Sources include AMPAS Mary Pickford Scrapbook #21, AMPAS Mary Pickford Scrapbook #10, Popular Science January 1920, The Aesthetics of Shadow: Lighting and Japanese Cinema by Daisuke Miyao, the Los Angeles Times January 24, 1915, and Forbes.com

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Mary Pickford Scrapbook 1922-1926 http://marypickford.org/scrapbooks-from-the-academy/mary-pickford-scrapbook-1922-1926/ http://marypickford.org/scrapbooks-from-the-academy/mary-pickford-scrapbook-1922-1926/#respond Mon, 15 Feb 2016 22:58:52 +0000 http://marypickford.org/?p=3556 Scrapbook #21 from the Academy’s Mary Pickford collection features a variety of newspaper and fan magazine clippings from the years 1922-1926. Actresses dubbed “Mary Pickfords” of their countries are featured here including Suzanne Grandais, called the Mary Pickford of France, Japan’s Teijiro Tachibana and several others, reflecting Mary’s global impact and international popularity. The Pickford […]

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Scrapbook #21 from the Academy’s Mary Pickford collection features a variety of newspaper and fan magazine clippings from the years 1922-1926. Actresses dubbed “Mary Pickfords” of their countries are featured here including Suzanne Grandais, called the Mary Pickford of France, Japan’s Teijiro Tachibana and several others, reflecting Mary’s global impact and international popularity. The Pickford fan responsible for assembling this book pasted not only articles and magazine covers relating to Mary and some of her film contemporaries such as Douglas Fairbanks and Charlie Chaplin, but also clippings of stage actresses Sarah Bernhardt, Lillian Russell and Eleanora Duse.

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