Shelfie: Mary Pickford, Clara Bow, Dinosaurs and All-Night Cycling

I’m sharing more titles from my silent film collection. If you want to catch up on other “shelfie” posts, you can find them here.

I’m based in California, so these films are quite possibly region 1. Readers living outside the region will need to make sure they have a region-free player before grabbing one of these titles.

You may surmise from this list that I like Mary Pickford movies just a tiny little bit.

Stella Maris (1918)

An absolute masterpiece from director Marshall Neilan and star Mary Pickford, Stella Maris is a Dickensian dive into the dark side of human nature. Pickford plays dual roles and is just brilliant. I own the out-of-print 2000 Milestone edition but have not viewed the in-print MOD disc.

You can read my full-length review here.

Through the Back Door (1921)

Another fab Pickford vehicle featuring a score by Robert Israel with the bonus inclusion of her 1914 version of Cinderella. I own the 2005 Milestone release.

Read my review of Cinderella here.

Heart o’ the Hills (1919)

A pair of rural pictures from Mary Pickford, who just loved doing this kind of thing. Heart o’ the Hills has an early role for John Gilbert and M’Liss has a considerable dose of squick. I own the 2005 Milestone edition.

Read my review of M’Liss here.

My Best Girl (1927)

Mary Pickford’s final silent film is a delightful rom-com co-starring her future husband, Buddy Rogers. I own the 1999 Milestone edition, which is now out of circulation, alas.

Read my review here.

Mantrap (1926)

Clara Bow plays a manicurist who marries Ernest Torrence (!) and goes to live with him in the backwoods. I have the DVD from the now-defunct Sunrise silents but you can also get a copy from Grapevine. The absolute best version is included in the Treasures 5 box set.

Read my review here.

Without Lying Down

A documentary on pioneering screenwriter Frances Marion and her friendship/collaboration with Mary Pickford. The disc also includes the 1917 version of A Little Princess. I have the 2003 Milestone disc.

Read my review of A Little Princess here.

Parisian Love with Down to the Sea in Ships

Two early Clara Bow films. Down to the Sea in Ships is a whaling melodrama in which she plays a teen in lace pantaloons. Parisian Love is a cheapo Apache film with a bit of an ick factor. I own the 2002 Kino edition.

Read my review of Parisian Love here.

The Garden of Eden (1928)

A jazzy rom-com starring Corinne Griffith and Charles Ray with a light Lubitsch flavor. I have the out-of-print Flicker Alley release but there is a Grapevine edition available.

Read my review here.

The Lost World (1925)

Oh, how I love this movie! It has dinosaurs in abundance and nothing could be more pleasing to the kid me.  I have the 2001 Image edition, which has been reissued by Flicker Alley. There is also a snazzy new restored Bluray edition from Flicker Alley.

Read my review here.

Bardelys the Magnificent with Monte Cristo

A pair of swashbuckling roles for John Gilbert. Bardelys was thought lost for years before being rediscovered, while Monte Cristo is a deeply slashed adaptation of the Dumas novel. I own the 2009 Flicker Alley edition.

Read my review of Monte Cristo here.

Open All Night (1924)

Open All Night has a fabulous cast and a despicable plot: Viola Dana is upset that her husband, Adolphe Menjou, won’t beat her. In the plus column, Jetta Goudal and Raymond Griffith. I own the Grapevine edition.

That’s all for today! I hope you enjoyed.

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7 Replies to “Shelfie: Mary Pickford, Clara Bow, Dinosaurs and All-Night Cycling”

  1. Super Shelfie choices (and I’m in no way prejudiced just because own 3/4 of ’em)!

    Re: Pickford- think I’ve mentioned in MS comments before, but walking around the original Motion Picture/Television Hospital in Woodland Hills CA and many areas of the MPTF Country Home behind it are like a trip through so many of her films, these very films in particular. Large beautiful stills on all the walls mix together with photos of Mary in later years taken with Los Angeles mayors, councilmen, and architects, with fellow founder Jean Hersholt digging the first spade of earth at the site, with Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Brown doing same (main hospital unit bears their names on the marquee), with L.A. philanthropists galore, and with countless others. A well-deserved tribute to Pickford’s decades-long tenacity in getting MPTF both founded and funded!

  2. Just found your article on “tied to the tracks” and comments were closed. My great-grandparents were Helen Holmes and J. P. McGowan, who were famous for their serials and movies set on and around trains. Her nickname was “the Railroad Girl.” On the cover of a biography of McGowan, ‘Hollywood’s First Australian,” is a photo from an episode of their most well-known serial Hazards of Helen, showing Helen tied to the tracks. The photo is in the Margaret Herrick Library and is from Episode 17, “The Death Train.”

    1. The trope was occasionally employed straight in serials but I repeat that I have NEVER encountered it in a mainstream silent feature film. While I don’t mean to diminish Miss Holmes, serials were hardly considered artistic triumphs and, frankly, when you’re churning out hundreds of episodes, reliance on outdated tropes and clichés is almost inevitable, which is why I specified features in my article. Further, I find that “tied to the tracks” stills are often “tied up and then fell on the tracks” or “collapsed on the tracks” which are not the same things. In contrast, I have found five individual comedies that play the trope for broad laughs. I stand by my article.

  3. Who ever claimed the tied-to-the-tracks scenario was part of major films? Everyone knows it was part of the serials and early comedies. It’s a bit disingenuous to dispute something no one alleges to be true.

    1. It’s nice that you’ve read all my correspondence and have overheard all my conversations and know exactly what people have said to me about silent films. Quite a superpower you have there. I think it’s time to close down this conversation as I cannot discuss films with someone who thinks I am disingenuous. Have a lovely day!

      1. Editor’s Note: For clarification, all article comments close after 90 days because I don’t always remember what I wrote four years ago and thread necromancy is not my favorite thing. That being said, I just freshened up the article in question with new images (so I’m pretty clear on what I said in the piece) and really can’t help it if someone wants to create a strawman argument based on a deliberately obtuse reading of what I wrote. Further, there’s not much I can do if somebody decides I am lying or being “disingenuous” about the central premise of the article, a premise that is clearly stated at the top of the piece. Yes, I made it all up. You caught me. Curses. Foiled again.

        http://moviessilently.com/2013/03/12/silent-movie-myth-4-tied-to-the-railroad-tracks/

        tl;dr And this is how the ban hammer works! Also, please stay on-topic. Thanks!

        P.S. I updated the article on Tied to the Tracks with multiple examples of people claiming that silent films in general contained the trope. Hey, I got a wonky reputation to keep up!

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