Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Cecil B. DeMille: The Birth of Hollywood on TCM

Mary Pickford, The Poor Little Rich Girl
Dustin Farnum, Cecil B. DeMille's The Squaw Man
Mary Pickford in Maurice Tourneur's The Poor Little Rich Girl (top); Dustin Farnum in Cecil B. DeMille's The Squaw Man (bottom)

The Birth of Hollywood, part II of the seven-part documentary Moguls & Movie Stars: A History of Hollywood, will be shown again tonight on Turner Classic Movies.

In addition to the documentary narrated by Christopher Plummer, TCM will present several early silent films, including several seminal early Hollywood productions.

Those include The Squaw Man (1914), Cecil B. DeMille's early Western that is “officially” the first movie made in Hollywood; the popular Mary Pickford vehicle The Poor Little Rich Girl (1917), directed by Maurice Tourneur (father of Cat People's Jacques Tourneur); and the Fred Niblo-directed Douglas Fairbanks costumer The Mark of Zorro (1920), which marked Fairbanks' departure from his usual modern all-American roles and his arrival in the world of period adventures and swordfighting.

Also of interest is Reginald Barker's 1915 Civil War drama The Coward, which turned 24-year-old Charles Ray into a major star. Ray would have his stardom (and his finances) all but ruined following the release of the expensive flop The Courtship of Myles Standish in 1923.

Despite several leading-man roles in various movies of the late '20s, including a few popular ones (e.g., Paris, The Fire Brigade, The Garden of Eden), Ray was never able to restore his former popularity.

He died broke – of an impacted tooth infection – in 1943 at the age of 52.

Schedule and synopses from the TCM website:

5:00pm [Silent] Immigrant, The (1917)
An immigrant gets into a variety of scrapes on the road to the U.S.
Cast: Charles Chaplin, Edna Purviance Dir: Charles Chaplin. Black and white. 25 mins

5:45pm [Silent] Yankee Doodle in Berlin (1919)
A U.S. spy infiltrates the German Army disguised as a woman.
Cast: Bothwell Browne, Ford Sterling, Malcolm St. Clair, Bert Roach Dir: Richard Jones BW-59 mins

7:00pm Moguls & Movie Stars, A History of Hollywood: Birth of Hollywood, The (2010)

8:15pm [Silent] Poor Little Rich Girl, The (1917)
A neglected rich girl's health crisis shows her and her parents some bitter truths.
Cast: Mary Pickford, Madeline Traverse, Charles Wellesley, Gladys Fairbanks Dir: Maurice Tourneur BW-78 mins

9:30pm [Silent] Coward, The (1915)
A Confederate deserter stumbles on the chance to redeem himself.
Cast: Frank Keenan, Charles Ray, Gertrude Claire, Margaret Gibson Dir: Reginald Barker BW-77 mins

11:00pm [Silent] Squaw Man, The (1914)
In this silent film, a wrongly accused man escapes to the West and takes an Indian bride.
Cast: Dustin Farnum, Monroe Salisbury, Winifred Kingston, Mrs. A. W. Filson Dir: Cecil B. DeMille and Oscar Apfel. Black and white. 74 mins

Douglas Fairbanks, The Mark of Zorro12:30am [Silent] Mark of Zorro, The (1920)
In this silent film, a Mexican Robin Hood harasses corrupt Spanish invaders.
Cast: Douglas Fairbanks, Noah Beery, Charles Hill Mailes, Claire McDowell Dir: Fred Niblo BW-107 mins

Photo: The Squaw Man (MOMA)

  Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Cecil B. DeMille: The Birth of Hollywood on TCM © 2004–2018 Alt Film Guide and/or author(s).
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