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Two Silent Film Actors Live On à la Facebook
By Paisley Hibou
The Quail Bell Crew was wondering who ran the Facebook fan page for silent film actors Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks. So we asked. The answer? Mary Moreland, a wife and mother living in the Pacific Northwest. She grew up watching classic films and, as an adult, started her own collection. Here is what Moreland had to say about administering this cyber hub for Pickford and Fairbanks aficionados:
What inspired your love for Pickford and Fairbanks?
My interest in silent film began several years ago. I became fascinated by Mary Pickford, along with Douglas Fairbanks, for their contributions to film, and the part they had in the early years of filmmaking. They both capture your attention on film. Pickford and Fairbanks were Hollywood’s first power couple and were welcomed wherever they went as Hollywood royalty.
What are some of your favorite Pickford and Fairbanks films?
It is very hard for me to choose my favorites. My favorite Mary Pickford film is probably Stella Maris (1918). Mary played two roles in this film: the beautiful Stella Maris, and the not so beautiful Unity Blake. Taking on the part of Unity Blake was rather surprising at the time. Mary was known as “America’s Sweetheart” and “Little Mary," and to play a part unlike this stereotype was a questionable move on her part. She performed brilliantly in both parts and the film is known as one of her best today. As for Douglas Fairbanks, The Thief of Baghdad (1924) would have to be my favorite film. Known for his swashbuckling films, Fairbanks brings that into this Arabian fantasy to make one unforgettable film.
What inspired you to start this Facebook page?
I started my Facebook page, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, because I wanted to share my love for them and silent film. I am surprised at how many people have not even heard of Pickford and Fairbanks! I hope to somehow help the public become more familiar with them and aware of their films. They had an integral part in the formation of the early years of Hollywood. Pickford and Fairbanks, along with Charlie Chaplin and D.W Griffith, founded the film studio United Artists in 1919. They were also two of the 36 founders of The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.
Where do you find your images?
I am constantly building my collection, and the images that I use come from various sources. The internet is a wonderful resource for images and historical documents.
What do you suggest for someone trying to get into watching silent films?
My advice for someone who is new to silent film would be to just jump in! There are silent films to interest everyone. Some people feel like silent films are an acquired taste, and in a way, they’re right. We are so used to talking, sound effects, music, and just plain noise in our films today. Silent films are so visually stunning that they do not need sound. Cinematographers used lighting and angles in a way that brought so much emotion and feeling to a film. In recent years we have seen a revival in silent film with such movies as The Artist. This sparked an interest in the classic silent films from the 1920s and earlier. I hope that we can keep these early films alive, and share them with the people of today along with the generations to come.
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