Friday, August 15, 2008

My Best Girl (Sam Taylor) **

Sam Taylor

Cast: Mary Pickford, Charles 'Buddy' Rogers, Sunshine Hart, Lucien Littlefield, Hobart Bosworth

Background: Pickford made a name for herself playing little girl roles in films like Pollyanna and Little Lord Fauntleroy and was called "America's Sweetheart". At the time, she was the biggest female box office star, commanding a salary as high as $10,000 a week. She picked this project out of her desire to play a more adult role.

Story: Joe Merrill (Rogers) is the son of a millionaire who conceals his identity to take a job in the stock room and prove that he can be a success without relying on his father. He meets and eventually falls for co-worker Maggie (Pickford), but his family would rather he marry the sophisticated Millicent Rogers.

Thoughts: This one is pretty bad. Pickford may be playing an adult role, but her character behaves like a child throughout the film. For example, Joe gets promoted over her and her only response is, "I'm surprised you still want to have lunch with me!" The story is pretty slight, although the director attempts to explore the differences between Joe and Maggie's families, he's unable to do so with such a short running time (72 minutes). I can see why people loved Pickford back then, but it's not enough to make this movie work.

Postscript: The film was a success, grossing over $1 million and (according to Wikipedia) was the 11th highest grossing film of the year.

My Best Girl was Pickford's last silent film. Two years later she would star in Coquette and win the Oscar for Best Actress. The sound era would eventually kill her career, and she made her last film in 1933. She would go on to marry her co-star Buddy Rogers, who acted in supporting parts through the 50's.

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