Mary Pickford, The Woman Behind the Scenes.
By Adrienne Papp
Mary Pickford has often been referred to as the Muse of the Movies. But, what she is really known for is her influential role in establishing American Cinema and Hollywood as the capital of the Entertainment Industry. Many of the innovations in film history began with her, including method acting; close up scenes and the sky rocketing wages of movie stars.
Mary Pickford’s story is a rags to riches tale culminating in her real life role, with husband and love of her life Douglas Fairbanks , as part of Hollywood’s first Movie Star Couple. It was a prototype role that today is occupied most prominently by Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.
Much of the private and profound professional life of Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks was unknown to many cinemagoers and enthusiasts, and even some industry insiders until the release of a new documentary about Pickford. Much of Hollywood’s mythmaking, and the film industry as we know it today literally started with Pickford’s property that was used as a movie set for her studio 100 years ago. Although she became Hollywood’s first female mogul, Pickford was also famously known as “America’s Sweetheart” for her movie roles. Less well known is that behind the scenes, she was a smart, determined businesswoman with an iron will, although had a very delicate and girlish demeanor.
Basing a film on factual events, Nicholas Eliopoulos produced and directed a fantastic and very entertaining documentary titled Mary Pickford, The Muse of the Movies, which premiered on August 28th in Los Angeles at the Samuel Goldwyn Theatre, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and I believe is one the very best documentaries ever made. It details events through an interview with Pickford, and is narrated by Michael York.
In her later years, the millionairess said that, looking back in retrospective, she would not do anything different in her life, despite the three marriages behind her, except be more spiritual and participate more fully to further the evolution of the soul.
Mary Pickford had the determination to practice the principles so essential in our evolutionary path today: it is really up to us to determine what we do with our lives and what we leave to future generations. “If you have made mistakes . . . and there is always another chance for you. . . . you may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call “failure” is not the falling down, but the staying down.” – Mary Pickford.