Mary Pickford Rediscovered (英語) ハードカバー – 1999/5/1
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Rare period photographs, production shots, and film stills--many never before published--celebrate the life and career of silent-film star Mary Pickford, in an illustrated filmography that also includes personal anecdotes about the silent era in Hollywood films.
It is difficult in today's climate of instant access to information to understand just how popular Mary Pickford was in her day. She was embraced by the entire world, and reportedly, every twenty four hours 12 1/2 million people saw her on screen. She perfected her craft in an era of film when very few people actually saw her natural acting style for the hard work and genius it was. George Cukor called her the first method actor.
Mary Pickford's career as an actress spanned decades. She did much for women with her strong business savvy and the roles she not only portrayed, but created. A very practical woman by all accounts, her films themselves reflected our better side as human beings and were often sentimental in tone. She didn't play weak characters as many of her contemporaries did. When people walked out of a theatre after seeing a Pickford film, they were often uplifted, feeling generous towards their fellowman.
Brownlow has done a wonderful job of bringing Mary Pickford to life as a three dimensional human being. With all the rare and beautiful photographs here to distract you it would have been easy to have an uninspiring text. But the introduction by Cushman and the lengthy and insightful comments by Brownlow, which includes commentary on each Pickford film, makes this a mesmerizing journey into a life, both on film and off.
There were many things about Mary the public knew, such as the famous Pickfair and her celebrated marriage to Douglas Fairbanks, as well as their friendship with Charlie Chaplin. They knew little, however, of a young girl who virtually had no childhood. Before her career finally took off she was poor in the extreme, sleeping in a chair so long it would take quite some time after owning a bed before she could sleep in any other position.
Some knew of her first marriage to actor Owen Moore, but few knew he was an abusive alcoholic who would drive Mary to seek comfort with actor and director James Kirkwood. They certainly did not know that in 1917, at the height of her fame, Mary almost committed suicide. Though these aspects of Mary's life are only touched upon and not dealt with in depth, it is admirable they are here at all, separating this from other coffee table books.
The photographs are so stunningly beautiful (some never before seen) you may have trouble concentrating on the text. Of particular note are photographs on pages 110, 65, 17, 12, 27, 154, 121, and 66. They are not to be missed.
This lush and informative book, filled with affection for its subject and augmented by rare and breathtaking photographs, is a must own for anyone who loves film. Its overall perspective of America's Sweetheart, and ultimately the world's sweetheart, Mary Pickford, is unmatched. Pick this one up today!
Although Mr. Brownlow does have an evenhanded approach to the films, praising them when he feels it's merited and criticising them when that is felt merited, while throughout demonstrating great respect for his subject, the reader shouldn't be made to feel as though these are authoritative opinions. I disagreed with his opinions on some of her films or some of the scenes in them, although generally his comments and personal opinions are kept very professional, not like an overly gushing fanboy or an extremely hard to please critic. One should also be warned that some of these film synopses do contain spoilers; it's one thing to detail the plots of her lost films, since we're never going to be able to see them anyway (though hope springs eternal), but it seems kind of unfair to give away crucial plot details or to basically describe the entire plot instead of just giving a synopsis. One might want to watch all of her major films before reading this if one doesn't like to have the endings or crucial plot details given away. That's a good idea anyway, since this book serves as a valuable companion to the films, providing more insight and background on films one is already familiar with or wants a deeper understanding of.
Like all of Mr. Brownlow's other books, this one too is wonderfully-written and is a great addition to one's library.