Tag Archives: american silent film

Little Princess, The (1917)


Mary Pickford 1

Mary Pickford Season: FD Cinematheque

The Little Princess (1917)

Director: Marshall Neilan, Howard Hawks

Cast: Mary Pickford, Norman Kerry, Katherine Griffith, Anne Schaefer, Zasu Pitts, WE Lawrence, Theodore Roberts, Gertrude Short, Gustav von Seyffertitz, Loretta Blake, George A McDaniel, Edythe Chapman, Josephine Hutchinson, Joan Marsh, Joe Murphy

62 min

A Little Princess is a 1917 American silent film directed by Marshall Neilan based upon the novel A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. This version is notable for having been adapted by famed female screenwriter Frances Marion.[1]

Marshall Neilan 1

Marshall Neilan

Howard Hawks 1 Howard Hawks

Contents

Plot 

As described in a film magazine,[2] Sara Crewe (Pickford) is treated as a little princess at the Minchin boarding school for children until it is learned that her father has lost his entire fortune, and she is made a slavey (a household servant). She and Becky (Pitts), another slavey, become close friends who share their joys and sorrows.

Little Princess The 9

Christmastime draws near and the girls watch the preparations wistfully. Their loneliness arouses the sympathy of a servant of the rich Mr. Carrisford. On the night before Christmas he prepares a spread for the slaveys in their attic. He calls his master Mr. Carrisford (von Seyffertitz) to watch their joy, but both are witness to the slaveys being abused and whipped by Miss Minchin (Griffith). Carrisford interferes and learns that Sara is the daughter of his best friend. He adopts Sara and Becky and in their new home they have a real Christmas.

Little Princess The 4

The film opens with Sarah’s father moving back to London after serving in the British Army in India. She is opposed to leaving the luxurious life of an officer’s child with a large house and many servants, and is initially shy when enrolled in Miss Minchin’s School. Her reputation as “the little princess” precedes her and the other girls are fascinated with her tales of life in India. The girls sneak into Sarah’s room at night to listen to her stories. One night, she tells “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” which becomes a story within a story with elaborate exotic sets and costumes.

Little Princess The 10

Cast

References

  1. Jump up^ Progressive Silent Film List: A Little Princess at silentera.com
  2. Jump up^ “Reviews: A Little Princess. Exhibitors Herald. New York: Exhibitors Herald Company. 5 (22): 29. November 24, 1917.

Little Princess The 8

Advertisements

Taming of the Shrew, The (1929)


Mary Pickford 1Mary Pickford Season: FD Cinematheque

Taming of the Shrew, The (1929)

Director: Sam Taylor

Cast: Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Edwin Maxwell, Joseph Cawthorn, Clyde Cook, Geoffrey Wardwell, Dorothy Jordan, Frankie Genardi, Charles Stevens

63 min

Taming of the Shrew 1929 2

Taming of the Shrew 1929 3

 

 

 

 

The Taming of the Shrew (1929) is the first sound film adaptation of the Shakespearean play of the same name. The movie was directed by Sam Taylor, adapted by Taylor from William Shakespeare‘s play, and stars Mary Pickford and her husband Douglas Fairbanks.

Douglas Fairbanks 1929 - The Taming of the Shrew

Cast

Taming of the Shrew 1929 21

Production

The first sound version of the play on film, this version was planned as a sound film from the start. Pickford had already made her sound film debut in Coquette (1929) so The Taming of the Shrew marked her second talkie. [1] This version of the film is primarily known for how Pickford delivers Katherina’s last speech. As she moves though the litany of reasons why a woman should obey her husband, she winks toward Bianca, unseen by Petruchio. Bianca smiles in silent communication with Katherina, thus acknowledging that Katherina has not been tamed at all. Pickford and Fairbanks’ marriage was breaking down even before filming began, and animosity between the couple increased during filming. In later years, Pickford stated that working on the film was the worst experience of her life, although she also acknowledged that Fairbanks’ performance was one of his best.

Taming of the Shrew 1929 19

Reception

Fairbanks biographer Jeffrey Vance, writing in 2008, believes “Taming of the Shrew has never received the recognition it deserves as the first talking film of a Shakespeare play. It was not only technically superior to the majority of talking pictures in 1929 but would unquestionably be the finest translation onto film of Shakespeare for some time to come.” Vance also sees the film as a window into the Pickford-Fairbanks marriage: “As a reenactment of the Pickford-Fairbanks marriage, Taming of the Shrew continues to fascinate as a rather grim comedy. The two willful, larger-than-life personalities working at cross-purposes and conveying their resentment and frustration to each other through blatant one-upmanship and harsh wounds is both the movie and the marital union.” [2]

Taming of the Shrew 1929 10

Home media

After many years out of circulation, the film was re-released in 1966 in a new cut supervised by Pickford herself. New sound effects and music were added throughout, much of the voice dubbing was enhanced with newly available technology, and seven minutes were cut from the initial print. This re-released version is the only version now available on DVD or VHS.[3]

Taming of the Shrew 1929 17

References

  1. Jump up^ John C. Tibbetts; James M. Welsh. Douglas Fairbanks and the American Century. Books.google.com. p. 225. Retrieved 2016-11-02.
  2. Jump up^ Vance, Jeffrey. Douglas Fairbanks (Berkeley, 2008), 280.ISBN 978-0-520-25667-5.
  3. Jump up^ Aikman Archive DVD booklet

Taming of the Shrew 1929 4