MY BEST GIRL
(director: Sam Taylor; screenwriters: from the novel by Kathleen Norris/Hope Loring/Allen McNeil/Tim Whelan; cinematographers: Charles Rosher/Dave Kesson; music: Gaylord Carter; cast: Mary Pickford (Maggie Johnson), Charles “Buddy” Rogers (Joe Grant), Sunshine Hart (Ma Johnson), Lucien Littlefield (Pa Johnson), Hobart Bosworth (Mr. Merrill), Evelyn Hall (Esther Merrill), Carmelita Geraghty (Liz Johnson), Avonne Taylor (Millicent Rogers), John Junior (Nick Powell); Runtime: 78; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Mary Pickford; Milestone; 1927-silent)
“Just a run-of-the-mill conventional Hollywood crowd-pleasing romantic comedy.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Sam Taylor (“Safety Last”/”Girl Shy”/”The Cat’s Paw”) directs this feel-good family drama silent, that was a box office hit. It’s based on the novel of the same name by Kathleen Norris and written by Hope Loring, Allen McNeil and Tim Whelan. Toronto born Mary Pickford was 34 at the time of filming and was known as “America’s Sweetheart” for all the Pollyanna roles she played. This was her final silent film and it was made for her United Artist company that she founded when she was 27 with Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin and D.W. Griffith. Pickford might have played the poor shy girl onscreen, but in real life she was a sharp businesswoman who became wealthy at a young age and was a leading pioneer in Hollywood films. Her leading man in the film, Charles “Buddy” Rogers, would in 1937 become her third husband. After this film, Pickford cut off her famous curly locks and began to take on more serious adult roles.
Maggie Johnson (Mary Pickford) is a spunky stock clerk in Merrill’s five-and-dime store, who lives at home with her eccentric family of modest means at their ramshackle cottage at Goat Hill. The family members include her henpecked postman father (Lucien Littlefield), faint-hearted obese mom (Sunshine Hart) and her jazz age party girl sister Liz Carmelita Geraghty). Sis is saddled with a good-for-nothing boyfriend (John Junior), that her parents can’t stomach.
Assigned to Maggie’s stockroom is a young handsome stock clerk introduced as Joe Grant, but no one in the store realizes that he’s Joe Merrill (Charles “Buddy” Rogers)—the son of the millionaire store owner. Joe’s being tested by his dad (Hobart Bosworth) if he can start on the bottom and promote without his father’s influence. Though about to be engaged to beautiful society girl Millicent (Avonne Taylor), Joe falls for Maggie and when he kisses her she assumes that she’s his best girl. After some shenanigans between the playful couple, Joe’s father is satisfied that shop girl Maggie is not a gold digger and the couple board a ship to elope to Hawaii.
This film was considered by many critics as one of Pickford’s best, but it did nothing for me. Just a run-of-the-mill conventional Hollywood crowd-pleasing romantic comedy.
REVIEWED ON 1/29/2009 GRADE: C