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Mary Pickford: A Life on Film (1997)

 |  Documentary, Biography
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 62 users  
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A biography of the life and career of silent-film star Mary Pickford, known during her day as "America's Sweetheart". This documentary shows that she was not simply just the top actress of ... See full summary »



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Cast overview:
Herself - Host / Narrator
Herself - Director: AFI
Cammilla Johnson ...
Herself - Former Child Actress (as Cammilla Jones)
Herself - Writer and Producer
Miles Kreuger ...
Himself - Theatre Historian
Himself - Film Critic and Historian
Robert Mitchell ...
Himself - Silent Cinema Organist (as Bob Mitchell)
Himself / Various Roles
Edward Stotsenberg ...
Himself - President: Mary Pickford Foundation


A biography of the life and career of silent-film star Mary Pickford, known during her day as "America's Sweetheart". This documentary shows that she was not simply just the top actress of her time, but also a successful producer, a creative writer and director, a savvy businesswoman and a founding member of United Artists, one of the most important and innovative studios in Hollywood's history. Written by

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Features Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall (1924) See more »

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User Reviews

A nice biography...warts and all.
17 April 2010 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

This biography of the great Mary Pickford was very well-crafted and worth seeing--particularly if you are a fan of her films or silents in general. As I am both, the documentary was a natural.

One thing that often sets one biographical documentary apart from others is truthfulness. Some biographies gloss over the subject's foibles or sins, others do nothing but focus on the salacious and wicked--this film is nice because it gives the 'warts and all' view of Pickford but also elevates her and praises her contributions. This makes for a film that is interesting, truthful and real. Years ago, I saw a biography about Dean Martin and it never even mentioned his first wife--like she never even existed. These sorts of omissions are not a problem with this film.

While this is not among the very, very best films about the lives and films of silent stars (mostly because it was only about an hour and half long), it is top-notch. Nice film clips, interviews and a competent narration by Whoopie Goldberg (an odd choice...but it worked fine) make this a quality film.

For a perfect or near-perfect film about silent stars, try watching "Buster Keaton: A Hard Act to Follow". Unlike the Pickford biography, this one is three hours long!! It allows for an examination of his life but also a very detailed analysis of his art--something I might have liked more in the Pickford film--though this is NOT being critical. I just like LOTS of information about actors I have loved.

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