American Experience: Season 17, Episode 6

Mary Pickford (4 Apr. 2005)

TV Episode  |   |  Documentary, History
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Episode credited cast:
Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tino Balio ...
Himself - Film Historian
Jeanine Basinger ...
Herself - Film Historian
David Belasco ...
Himself (archive footage)
Malcolm Boyd ...
Himself - Friend of Mary Pickford
Herself (archive footage)
Kevin Brownlow ...
Himself - Film Historian
Himself (archive footage)
Robert Cushman ...
Himself - Film Historian
Amelia Earhart ...
Herself (archive footage)
Scott Eyman ...
Himself - Biographer
Himself (archive footage)
Victoria Flexner ...
Kathryn Fuller-Seeley ...
Herself - Film Historian
Himself (archive footage)


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4 April 2005 (USA)  »

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7 August 2013 | by See all my reviews

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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