To watch Mary Pickford is to be instantly taken by her. You enter a world where it is perfectly feasible for a 24-year-old to play a child, and what's more -- she's more charmingly childlike than the actual children in the film.
In one of her best-loved roles, Pickford plays Gwendolyn, the girl with everything anyone could ever want...except love and companionship. She longingly gazes at the children playing outside and struggles for the attentions of her Wall Street father and social butterfly mother. Gwen gets herself in more than one scrape, but always her cheery innocence saves her from real trouble. When difficulties befall the family - and a desperate situation threatens Gwen - will they be able to pull together and learn to treasure what really matters?
It's a Pickford picture, so you can probaby guess the answer.
The film never tries to be anything but a sweet little melodrama, and this honesty of approach seems almost fresh through the veil of ninety years. Sure, it's treacly ("why do my to-morrows never come?") but due to its simplicity, it works.
Amazingly, this was my first time watching Mary in her prime; previously I'd only seen her in Coquette (not the best way to start). I now can see why she was America's Sweetheart. Her eyes, her smile, every move of her hand is magic. Like Clara Bow, she commands the screen, but in a gentle, less kinetic way (even through some very cute foot-stomping tantrums). I am very much looking forward to the rest of her early work.
I give this one:
Chris Edwards of the sublime Silent Volume reviewed this, too. Read it here.