If one can ignore the annoying re-creations, puerile writing, and gossipy interviews (with two exceptions), this is a dewy-eyed look at Mary Pickford's life and films from which Mary Pickford herself might have flinched. Not that she was a harlot in sweetheart's clothing, but by stressing the bathos instead of the drama in this brilliant actress/businesswoman's career, the filmmakers never demonstrate why Pickford was such an icon, although they say it a lot. What's interesting, upon second viewing, is noticing how hard the documentary struggles to wring sentiment out of a life that was largely (if you read her autobiography, which I have) devoid of it. There is no mention, for example, of Mary's work with the motion picture Academy or her threat to destroy all her films lest they be laughed at by modern audiences. The best thing in this show is Tom Phillips' attentive musical score. It needs more voices and less idolatry.
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