The First Movie Star

A Pickford revival in books and videos proves there's still something about Mary

She is the great unknown star. If she is recalled, it is for her curls, her mansion and her second husband Douglas Fairbanks. Mary Pickford was called America's Sweetheart, but even that tribute smacks of candy samplers and crinoline, of a tintype age as remote as the Flood.

Pickford needs to be known to see how quickly and glamorously the movies exploded into feature-length life--and at last she can be. Milestone Films has just reissued spiffy video restorations of six of Pickford's best films, made between 1917 and 1927. Mary Pickford Rediscovered (Abrams; 256 pages; $39.95), an eloquent appreciation by...

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