Venue Details

AFI Silver Theatre
between Georgia and Fenton 8633 Colesville Road Silver Spring, MD 20910
Venue website Get directions
More Information


Published by the Library of Congress in association with the University of Kentucky Press, “Mary Pickford: Queen of the Movies,” edited by Christel Schmidt, sheds new light on this icon’s life and legacy. Through essays by Schmidt and other eminent film historians, Pickford emerges from the pages in vivid detail. She is revealed as a gifted actress, a philanthropist and a savvy industry leader who fought for creative control of her films and ultimately became her own producer. Her success paved the way for women in film and ushered in Hollywood’s Golden Age.

This volume features more than 200 color and black-and-white illustrations, including photographs and posters from the Library of Congress’ collections and those of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. A fascinating portrait of a key figure in American cinematic history. Christel Schmidt is a film historian, writer and editor. She was awarded two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities for her work on Mary Pickford and is co-editor of “Silent Movies: The Birth of Film and the Triumph of Movie Culture.”

There will be a sale and signing of “Mary Pickford: Queen of the Movies” in the lobby following each Pickford screening. 


Sat, Apr 20 at 2:00: _Sparrows 

_*_US, 1926, b&w, 84 min.

Live musical accompaniment by Andrew Simpson_

In person: Christel Schmidt, editor, “Mary Pickford: Queen of the Movies”
 “[Mary] Pickford is ineffably moving as Molly, the oldest girl (and self-appointed protector) of a group of orphans being held as slaves in a ‘child farm’ deep in a Southern swamp. Arguably Pickford’s masterpiece, Sparrows is a radiant example of the timelessness and clarity of feeling that silent film could achieve. Made with an awareness of the formal developments of the contemporary German cinema (it was Pickford who brought Ernst Lubitsch to Hollywood, to direct her in the 1923 Rosita), the film seems like a lost tale from the Brothers Grimm, immersed in primal fears. As Molly leads the children away from the ogrelike overseer (Gustav von Seyffertitz), across the quicksand and through the Expressionist swamp (a sequence beautifully detailed by director William Beaudine, and lighted by cinematographers—Charles Rosher and Karl Struss—who would shoot F. W. Murnau’s Sunrise one year later), the film seems to burrow into the viewer’s subconscious. I feel sure that it did for Charles Laughton, whose singular masterwork The Night of the Hunter (1955) echoes much of the atmosphere and emotion of Sparrows.” – Dave Kehr, The New York Times 

DIR William Beaudine

SCR Winifred Dunn

Producer Mary Pickford

Not rated.

35mm print courtesy of the Library of Congress.  

*Fri, April 26 at 7:30pm_: Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall

_*_US, 1924, b&w

Live musical accompaniment by Ben Model _

In person: Christel Schmidt, editor, “Mary Pickford: Queen of the Movies”
 England, 1550: Headstrong teenager Dorothy Vernon (Mary Pickford) chafes at her nobleman father’s plans to arrange her marriage, instead falling in love with the son of her father’s sworn enemy. But these affairs of the heart intersect with those of the state, and Dorothy soon discovers she has given offense to both Mary, Queen of Scots, and England’s Queen Elizabeth! This grand historical drama was an adventurous change of pace for the enterprising Pickford.

DIR Marshall Neilan

SCR Waldemar Young, from the novel by Charles Major

PROD Mary Pickford

35mm restoration print courtesy of the Cinematheque Royale de Belgique and the Library of Congress.

Comedian Jimmy Carr Louis Vierne's <em>Solemn Mass</em> Cherry Blossom/Springtime Harbor Cruise <em>The Fillmore Flashback</em> <em>The Sweet Spot DC</em> <em>Fun Home</em>