My Best Girl by Sam Taylor (1927, 90 min., 35mm). After nearly 15 years as the silver screen’s reigning “Queen of the Movies,” Mary Pickford lovingly concluded her silent movie career with one of her best films—the utterly charming romantic comedy, My Best Girl. Featuring future husband Charles “Buddy” Rogers as her leading man, Pickford shines as a department store Cinderella who falls in love with the owner’s son, once again exhibiting the wide-ranging talent that had made her a sensation the world over. Director Sam Taylor honed his comedy chops directing and co-directing a string of classic Harold Lloyd films, and his experienced hand is especially evident in the film’s overall polish and by the engaging way he textures the strange and quirky characters that populate the shop girl’s milieu. Description written by Steven K. Hill, UCLA Film & Television Archive.

 

Preservation funding provided by The Mary Pickford Foundation, The Packard Humanities Institute, and The Film Foundation.

 

The Son’s Return by D. W. Griffith (1909, 11 min., DCP). This recently rediscovered Biograph short features Mary Pickford in her second major screen role. In it, she plays Mary, the sweetheart of Will, a country innkeeper’s son who heads to the big city and becomes a successful banker. After five years, he returns to his poverty-stricken parents, who do not recognize him and plot to rob their own son. Fortunately, Mary steps in to help the drama end happily. Description written by Sloan DeForest, UCLA Film & Television Archive.

 

Preservation funding provided by The Packard Humanities Institute, The Mary Pickford Foundation, and the Museum of Modern Art.

 

A Manly Man by Thomas H. Ince (1911, 12 min., 35mm). Of the over 30 one-reelers Mary Pickford made in Cuba for Carl Laemmle’s Independent Motion Pictures Company, A Manly Man is one of few that survives today. Pickford plays Lola, a young Filipino woman who falls in love with Duncan (William E. Shay), a Caucasian man sent to her village on business. After Lola risks her life nursing his fever and saving him from a knife attack, Duncan marries her and resists the temptation to return to his American fiancée. Description written by Sloan DeForest, UCLA Film & Television Archive.

 

Preservation funding provided by The American Film Institute/National Endowment for the Arts Film Preservation Grants Program and The Packard Humanities Institute.