9 October 2005 | ruby_fff
The definitive Hollywood romance from screen to real life - Pickford and Rogers happily ever after
"My Best Girl" is the downright American love story, with Mary Pickford (the America's Sweetheart) and Charles 'Buddy' Rogers (the America's Boyfriend) wooing each other on screen in 1927, and ten years after, they were married to each other - a union lasted 42 years for the rest of Pickford's lifetime through 1979. An enviable love story.
The (silent) film is directed by Sam Taylor (who collaborated on many a Harold Lloyd hilarious fun capers). On the DVD case, it has "Script: Hope Loring, with Mary Pickford and Charles "Buddy" Rogers." Charles Rogers, so handsome, young and charming, and quite an athletic runner. Director Taylor included familiar treatment with main characters standing in the stream of traffic, cars swishing by near-miss, not lacking in car chase or chasing after car scenario - but done in a most endearing way, especially the sequence between Pickford's Maggie Johnson riding at the back of a truck, while Rogers' Joe Grant repeatedly trying to catch up with her. Clearly two persons quite smitten with each other - so lovely together without a care in the world.
The DVD restored version (supervised by Keith Lawrence, 1999 Milestone Film & Video) has an outstanding symphonic score by David Michael Frank, performed by the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic Zlin (Czechoslovakia), conducted by Bill Motzing. Simply love the music! It is so appealing and perfectly fitting to the fairy tale tempo of "My Best Girl": love at first sight, rags to riches, family strife and love obstacles, humor and dramatics, tears and joy all rolled into one. Mary Pickford is THE quintessential star, queen of the silent film era. She's so good at what she does, romantic comedy or tough drama (as in "Sparrows" 1926), and adept in physical moves, too. The introduction of the Shop Girl in the beginning: the juggling of the pots, that foot in the pan 'gag', the slips a-slipping thing, all delivered with such impeccable timing. Storyline progression played on mistaken assumptions, with timely humor and sweetness of the heart.
Don't let 'silent film' deter you: it's a lively piece, with lots of plot turns and dramatics, and the cast, besides the adorable pairing of Pickford and Rogers, the supporting roles from Pa Johnson and Ma Johnson, sister Liz and sleazy John Junior, down to the sidewalk 'crippled Pencil Peddler' (actually a critical small part in the love story of Maggie and Joe), are engaging as any talking pictures, maybe more so. The "Breaking Joe's Heart" segment - just watching how Mary Pickford played her scenes, running the gamut of emotions, is satisfying by itself.
Everything about this film is quality: the cinematography (the montage composition and angles following the couple, the multiple street scenes - sweet rainy or sad rainy), set design (that crate of a box where Joe and Maggie had their lunch seemed like Paradise till the camera pulled back and revealed wide) and sound (the punctuated cash registry bell, the entry of door bell rings matching pauses in the music) all contributed to "My Best Girl" being a not to be missed cinematic experience. Have a dose of fairy tale now and then. Check out the DVD, relax and enjoy it!