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Silent Era Films on Home Video
Reviews of silent film releases on home video.
Copyright © 1999-2014 by Carl Bennett
and the Silent Era Company.
All Rights Reserved.
My Best Girl
(1927)
 

This late film of Mary Pickford’s is among our favorites for its simple and gentle story of two young people who meet in a department store and fall in love. At a time when Pickford was trying to leave behind her audience-imposed mantle of ‘little girl’ roles, this pleasing motion picture of two young (adult) lovers managed to be well-balanced between comedy and light drama, and still deliver the kind of story Pickford fans craved. The film also features Wings (1927) star Charles ‘Buddy’ Rogers, Mary’s future (third and last) husband. Together, Pickford and Rogers deliver two winning performances, both charming and sweet, that give this lightweight film its lasting appeal. It seems a pity that the two actors did not make another film together.

We have fun watchng the film spotting a rare silent era process photography shot as the characters’ speeding car races toward the departing boat, and a brief glimpse of Los Angeles’ Cameo Theatre. — Carl Bennett

1999 Milestone Collection DVD edition

My Best Girl (1927), color-toned black & white, 79 minutes, not rated.

Milestone Film & Video, distributed by Image Entertainment, ID5927MLSDVD, UPC 0-14381-59272-6.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, one single-sided, single-layered DVD disc, Region 0, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, 14 chapter stops, snapper DVD case, $29.99.
DVD release date: 26 October 1999.
Country of origin: USA

Ratings (1-10): video: 8 / audio: 8 / additional content: 5 / overall: 8.

This edition, produced by Timeline Films in cooperation with The Mary Pickford Institute for Film Education, is an improvement over previous home video editions, with a few shortcomings. Foremost, the new video transfer is framed tighter on the sides and bottom of the picture than the previous best edition, the Mary Pickford Company/Image Entertainment 1990 laserdisc edition. In the opening cards, John Junior’s screen credit is all but totally cropped out of the bottom of the picture. Such framing causes the film’s intertitles to appear low on the television screen. And some intertitles will be cropped off on the sides on some television monitors. The new Milestone edition does feature a bit more image information at the top of the picture.

The quality of the video transfer from a 35mm print is very good, with a pleasingly broad range of graytones in sepia toning. This new transfer features all of the image detail we had hoped had not been lost forever after our multiple viewings of the 1990 laserdisc. By comparison, the laserdisc is washed out and is even hard to watch in places. Everything about this Milestone release of My Best Girl is an improvement over previous home video editions in visual quality and musical accompaniment, but we will miss Gaylord Carter’s sentimental organ score that was featured on the laserdisc. The Milestone edition offers a new orchestral score composed by David Michael Frank that is well recorded and is presented here in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound.

Some of our other nitpicking includes noting approximately 30 seconds of print damage (caused at some time by sprocket slippage) beginning at 18:07, about 20 seconds of source print shrinkage beginning at 27:03 (neither one the fault of Milestone), and a videotape-master blip in the bottom of the picture at 48:55 (somebody’s fault in letting it go).

The DVD features a brief supplementary section that includes home movies and newsreel footage of Pickford and Rogers’ 1937 Pickfair wedding and subsequent honeymoon travels, accompanied by music by Philip Carli.

While we are mildly disappointed with the tight picture image framing of the video transfer, we recommend this fine edition of My Best Girl as the best available to home video collectors.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase helps support the Silent Era website.
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase helps support the Silent Era website.
Other silent era MARY PICKFORD films available on home video.

Other silent era CHARLES ‘BUDDY’ ROGERS films available on home video.

Mary Pickford filmography in The Progressive Silent Film List
 
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