More Competition: Neilan and Vidor

Musical accompaniment by Ben Model

Thursday, December 10, 2009, 1:30 p.m.

Theater 3 (The Celeste Bartos Theater), mezzanine, The Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Education and Research Building

Includes the following films:

  • The Jackknife Man

    1920. USA. Directed by King Vidor. With Fred Turner, Harry Todd, Bobby Kelso. The director’s sixth film, made on zero budget, anticipates Charles Chaplin’s The Kid as an endearing story of the love between a homeless boy and the man who adopts him. Silent. Approx. 65 min.

  • Amarilly of Clothesline Alley

    1918. USA. Directed by Marshall Neilan. With Mary Pickford, William Scott, Norman Kerry. Adapted by Frances Marion. Pickford stars as a slum-dwelling gamine in this satirical look at class differences with a twist of Pygmalion. Silent. Approx. 60 min.

Marshall “Mickey” Neilan (1891–1958), a nearly forgotten, tragic figure, began his film career as D. W. Griffith’s chauffeur and wound up, like Griffith, an unemployable drunk for the last two decades of his life. In between, he was hailed as a young genius, and his sensitive direction elevated Mary Pickford to unprecedented heights of superstardom. Of their collaboration, America’s Sweetheart said, “No director could wring the performance from me that Mickey did.” King Vidor (1894–1982) began a long and distinguished career in 1919 as what we would now call an “independent.” Within six years he saved Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer with The Big Parade, and his ascension seemed to coincide with Griffith’s decline.

In the Film exhibition An Auteurist History of Film

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