Tag: Mary Pickford

Douglas Fairbanks et Mary Pickford à Paris, mai 1924

Douglas Fairbanks et Mary Pickford à leur sortie de Ciné-Miroir
Douglas Fairbanks et Mary Pickford à leur sortie de Ciné-Miroir

L’inimitable “Doug” et Mary Pickford, “La Bien-Aimée du monde” pendant leur séjour à Paris ont rendu visite a “Ciné-Miroir”

Nous avons eu le grand honneur de recevoir Douglas Fairbanks et Mary Pickford. Ce fut une réunion sans tapage, sans réclame, comme c’est l’habitude dans notre maison; une fête tout a fait intime, mais que nous devons raconter à nos lecteurs, puisque ce sont eux qui font le succès de Ciné-Miroir et accroissent, chaque jour, son influence : les amis de nos amis sont nos amis. Déjà, à l’arrivée à Cherbourg de Doug et de la délicieuse Mary, la bien-aimée du monde, nous avions envoyé l’un de nos collaborateurs, M. Bourdet, pour les saluer en notre nom. Un collaborateur… un ambassadeur devrait-on dire, puisqu’il s’agissait d’une majesté : Sa Majesté Douglas… Et, après avoir vu bien des rois dans nos randonnées à travers l’Europe, nous pouvons assurer qu’il en est peu qui méritent a ce point l’admiration populaire. Ce qui retient, captive, conquiert, en effet, dans un couple humain, c’est moins l’éclat de sa renommée ou l’éblouissement de sa fortune que la bonté, la simplicité qu’il dégage. A ce point de vue, le couple Douglas Fairbanks-Mary Pìckford donne un spectacle absolument exquis.

Lorsque, dans le cabinet de notre directeur, en ce soir du 9 mai, ils parurent, accompagnés de M. Smith, le très remarquable représentant a Paris de la firme United Artists, il y eut non pas des applaudissements, mais un silence que chacun laissa couler, car chacun était déjà sous le charme. Ces deux grands acteurs ne faisaient point une entrée de théâtre, ils venaient vers nous camme s’ils étaient seuls dans l’allée d’un jardin. Mary, plus petile, délicieuse de féminité, légèrement appuyée sur son mari, confiante, enchaînée au même destin… Mais c’est à l’intérieur d’une pièce qu’il faut voir Douglas Fairbanks : sous l’impeccable jaquette et malgré l’embarras de son haut de forme, il reste l’athlète toujours prêt à mesurer sa force, à manœuvrer ses muscles. Dans un appartement, il se sent visiblement enfermé : sauvage et résigné tout ensemble, il fixe de ses yeux gris foncés les murs, les fenêtres, comme s’il cherchait une ouverture par où s’échapper. Ce qui frappe en lui, c’est un corps et un esprit s’entraînant sans arrêt, perpétuellement tendus vers l’effort, vers l’œuvre à réaliser. Nos hôtes, nous l’avons dit, furent reçus dans l’intimité. Douglas, qui comprend le français, laisse à Mary Pìckford le soin de s’exprimer dans notre langue, ce dont elle s’acquitte avec une ìnfinie bonne grâce.

Jean Vignaud (Ciné-Miroir n. 51, 1 juin 1924)

Duke and Duchess of Sutherland on the Films

Duchess Plays Part on The Film
The Duchess of Sutherland, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford

The lure of the movies has captured even the Duke of Sutherland, who motored out to Hollywood and paid a surprise visit to Douglas Fairbanks’ studio recently.

After watching Douglas Fairbanks filming one of his scenes for his new Big Four picture, the duke asked if it would be possible for him to meet Mary Pickford. Miss Pickford was on location, but was reached by special messenger and returned at once.

The duke mentioned the fact that he had devised a scenario, and would like to see it produced, and the drama was promptly staged by Douglas Fairbanks.

It was some cast! Mary Pickford agreed to take the part of a maid, and Fairbanks played the villain. So, for the first time in history, the film’s most famous woman star and most popular male star appeared together in a picture. General J. W. Stewart, Admiral R. J. N. Watson, and Mr. Dudley Ward, M. P., members of the duke’s Party, were assigned parts, and the action commenced.

The Plot.

The action revolved around the duchess’s pearls – real ones – which were pilfered by Doug, the heavy villain, during service of tea. But Mary Pickford, the maid, discovers the plot, and is kidnapped by Admiral Watson. The General Stewart, as a Scotland Yard man, of course, miraculously appears, and the villain explains that he only annexed the pearls so as to cause an uproar in the duke’s home, and thus prevent his appearance in Parliament, where he was all set to make a speech.

The duke and duchess put in the whole afternon at the thrilling sport, and the notable film was brought back to England to entertain their friends.

After he had finished filming his scenario the duke and duchess motored to Douglas Fairbanks’ beautiful new Beverly Hills home on the hills above Hollywood, for dinner. Those present, in addition to the ducal party, where Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin and Mildred Harris, who in private life is Mrs. Chaplin.
(from The Picture Show, January 24th, 1920)

I don’t know what happened to the film, but it was the beginning of a long friendship:  Letters from Hollywood: Duchess Millicent’s Letters from Mary Pickford (The Sutherland Collection)

Picture-Players I Know

Elsie Ferguson 1914
Elsie Ferguson 1914

Some Reminiscences of Albert Kaufman, Studio Manager told to May Herschell Clarke.

Recently I had the pleasure of meeting Albert A. Kaufman, brother-in-law of Mr. Adolph Zukor, and co-worker with that great pioneer of filmdom. Mr. Kaufman has been associated with the motion picture from its earliest infancy in the days of the penny arcade, when, as series of jerky, crude photographs in a “twirl-box”, it first came into being.

Later, when Mr. Zukor, having seen and developed the possibilities of these penny arcades, converted them into the exhibitors end of the business, where he remained for five years.

Then, when the Famous Players Film Co. was formed – the Lasky was added later – Mr. Kaufman became, in 1913, manager of its studio, his connection with that organisation remaining unbroken since that time, except for two years which he spent in the U.S. army.

Memories of Mary Pickford

But it was of some of the famous picture stars who have come under his management from time to time, rather than of himself, that Mr. Kaufman chatted during the very enjoyable afternoon I spent  in his company, and what more natural than that he should commence with Mary Pickford?

“She was the first  big star who came to our company,” he said. “Speaking of her reminds me of one of her most popular pictures, ‘Rags,’ in which we encountered the only difficulty we have ever been unable to meet, and in this instance we were baffled by a dog.

“You remenber the canine actor in ‘Rags’? Well, he was a cur, and came from a lost dogs’ home in California, where we rescued him from the lethal chamber to play opposite’ Mary. He became quite a studio pet, and made his picture debut in ‘Rags’ successfully. At last we had got to the part where Mary leaves her country home to visit relatives accompanied by her dog. This scene was shot and then the dog developed hydrophobia and died! For the first time in our experience we, who hitherto had always been able to find a substitute for an actor could find no duplicate of this four-footed one, and so you saw the little heroine arrivong at her destination minus her pet, while an extra sub-title had to be inserted in which the great Mary Pickford was forced to own ‘On my way here my dog died.’ ”

Stars of the Stage

From the “World’s Sweetheart” it was an easy step to Marguerite Clark, and Mr. Kaufman related the history of her entrance into her film kingdom.

“Miss Clark had been a tremendous success on the legitimate stage, and it took us six months to persuade her that fame awaited her in pictures. In the end she consented to sign a contract to work but ten weeks a year for three years, so that she might devote her main time to the theatre, because she felt sure she would never be a success in pictures. She has been in them five years now, and has never been on the stage since that day!

“Elsie Ferguson was just as hard to convince as Marguerite Clark. When we forst approached her she was receiving a very high stage salary, was very popular, and was known as the best gowned woman on the American boards. She, likewise, never thought she would succeed in pictures, but eventually she was persuaded to sign a contract. She scored and instant success both in America and over here, but when she first saw herself on the film she almost broke down. Even then she felt sure she had no chance of success: she could not work nearly as naturally before the camera as on the stage, she said. Nevertheless, she remained in pictures, and look where she is to-day. And she, like Miss Clark, has never appeared on the legitimate stage since her film début.

These two instances I have quoted will show you how big artistes sometimes underrate themselves, being unable to foresee the public favour awaiting them.

“We are expecting Miss Ferguson over here soon, and she will then appear in the film version of Pinero’s play, ‘His House in Order.’ She is a very lovely girl, and still sets the fashions in America.

(to be continued)