Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Coquette (1929)

Hello and welcome to another episode of "How Much Can We Overact?"  Today's contestant:  little Mary Pickford!  

Mary won the 1930 Academy Award for her performance, proving that the judges that year were heavily swayed and/or hitting the bathtub gin.  She is terrible.  Even if you take away the fact that it was her first talkie, and technology certainly wasn't up to par yet (everyone sounds like goats)...it was still an awful picture.  Mary is almost a caricature of herself, overcompensating for the new format with ridiculously exaggerated facial expressions and movements.  She hadn't learned "talkie" acting yet, and it shows badly.  However, her costars fare no better - a very young Johnny Mack Brown, as her star-crossed love interest, is stilted and uncomfortable - and the plot itself presents Mary as a teenaged flirt, which is a bit of a stretch (though she does try her hardest). Also, what accent was that?! 

Watch it for historical value, count how many times she purses her lips, and if you enjoy it more than I did, please let me know. 

I give this one: 


The Floating Red Couch said...

You must keep in mind that little Mary was like the first movie star, and the academy had to solidify the notion of "star power"

Avalon76 said...

Red, you're absolutely right. But it just seems unfortunate (to put it mildly) that this was the movie for which she won. *cringes*

The Floating Red Couch said...

Ha! *(See Dame Judi Dench's Oscar)*

Margaret Benbow said...

"Little Mary" was fortyish by this time, I think, so maybe she deserves some kudos for bravery...but you're right, she didn't understand the new medium. So different from her sensitive performance in "Sparrows."