Griffith, Pickford, Sennett

An Arcadian Maid
R: David W. Griffith. B: Stanner E.V. Taylor. K: G.W. Bitzer. D: Mary Pickford, Mack Sennett, George Nichols, Kate Bruce, William J. Butler, Frank Evans, Henry Lehrman. P: Biograph Company. USA 1910

“Hired at Biograph by D. W. Griffith shortly after her seventeenth birthday, Mary Pickford had played during her first few months primarily ingénues and comic roles; lead dramatic roles came gradually, and accelerated with the departure of Lawrence (July 1909) and Marion Leonard (April 1910), the two primary female leads at Biograph at the time Pickford was hired.  Those parts requiring more extremes of characterization came as she developed her craft through what seems to have been an instinctive or, better yet, an intuitive understanding of what was required for effective motion picture acting.  Her performances in The Broken Locket (released August, 1909) and Ramona (May 1910) gave but a glimpse of her precocious capabilities.  In An Arcadian Maid, she would play as a dramatic lead what would have been considered previously a “character” role on stage, or in early film. (…) Filmed in rural Westfield, New Jersey, and at the New York studio on East Fourteenth Street during three days in late June, 1910, An Arcadian Maid was released to exhibitors on August 1, 1910 at a finished length of 984 feet.  With a run time of between 12 and 14 minutes depending, of course, upon projection speed, An Arcadian Maid successfully conveys as much narrative information as a modern one-hour television production.  It does so without dialog intertitles (which were rare in 1910), and with only a spare seven intertitles in total, from opening to closing shot. (…) In just the first two shots of the film, Griffith has established the weary and empty life of the girl, Priscilla: a characterization already emerges that allows us to understand her actions in the next sequence of shots. Such economy in filmmaking was essential to effective storytelling within the unforgiving limits of the single reel format, and by mid 1910, Griffith was its master.”
11 East 14th Street

>>> Mary Pickford,   America’s Sweetheart