I had waited for ages to see a Marguerite Clark feature. Being a film & theater buff I had discovered her many years before and had seen stills of many of her roles in theater and film books. Notably the Daniel Blum series of 'Pictorial' books. Finally in the mid 90s I got my wish & chance. The Library of Congress had restored a print of LITTLE MISS HOOVER and finally I was going to see this lovely actress in a functioning film and not just stills. I can't remember all of what Little Miss Hoover was about except to say(for spoilers sake!) it was made on the heels of WW1 and some of it deals with Miss Clark's character offering charity in a somewhat rural setting. Hence the title and the Herbert Hoover connection I assume. (*Hoover had organised Belgian Relief proceeds in 1914 to a great success.) My main point in viewing this film was to watch Clark & study her acting, so the story was almost inconsequential to me. But the movie is beautifully preserved and much of the original photography's gradations are intact indicating it was probably tinted & toned. One can see why Miss Clark was such a winning actress and offered Mary Pickford her greatest competition at the box office. Blonde vs. Brunette it seems. Like the beautiful Elsie Ferguson, another stage star, Clark hailed from the Broadway theater first and made the very successful transition to movies in 1914, when money and the freedom from theatrical repetition & road travel, came calling. I would personally choose Marguerite as a film favorite over Mary Pickford any day even though Pickford was excellent in a lot of her movies and was wonderful also. Marguerite wound up her film career in 1921 as cute and beautiful as ever. But 1921 was still the midst of the silent era. I just wish she had come back ten years later, some time in the 1930s and before she died, to do one or two talkies for posterties sake so that a visual & aural record of her could've been preserved. Perhaps she could've voiced over Disney's Snow White(1937) as young Walt himself admired Marguerite in her 1916 SNOW WHITE. And even in the WIZARD OF OZ, she could've easily played Glinda the Good Witch(Billie Burke was nevertheless a joy) the type of whimsical role she was born to play. LITTLE MISS HOOVER is one of two Clark films to survive it seems, the other being SNOW WHITE. Both films deserve a VHS & DVD release. Perhaps Kino, one of the few companies still running & specializing in silents will offer these waiting gems to home viewers.
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