“You wouldn’t have kissed me if I weren’t your best girl.”
A stockgirl (Mary Pickford) in a five-and-dime falls in love with a new employee (Charles Rogers), not realizing he’s really the wealthy heir of the store, and already engaged to a society girl (Avonne Taylor).
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Cross-Class Romance
- Mary Pickford Films
- Mistaken or Hidden Identities
- Romantic Comedy
- Silent Films
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary argues that “Mary Pickford’s last silent film is perhaps her best”, noting that she “plays one of her few adult parts” (not quite a true statement, actually) “and shows surprising sophistication as both a light comedienne and a romantic lead” (definitely true). He points out that “with her appealing combination of spunk, nobility, vulnerability, and tenderness, she recalls Janet Gaynor (whom she resembles slightly)”. He refers to the comedic film itself as “extremely charming”, noting that the “courtship of Rogers (who never was better) and Pickford (on the back of a truck, in a crate in the stockroom) is very sweet and convincing”, and reminds us that “Rogers and Pickford would marry 10 years later” (for life). He accurately notes that there are “funny sight gags” and “some excellent use of L.A. streets”.
In his Alternate Oscars book (where he gives Pickford the Best Actress award for the year), Peary points out that My Best Girl is a “semi-remake of the recent It, starring Clara Bow”, with both films featuring a likeable young shopgirl who falls in love with the store’s wealthy heir. However, one minor problem with My Best Girl is that the otherwise charming Rogers prolongs his real identity from Pickford for far too long. While we understand that he must maintain his deception until he’s proven himself worthy to his father (by advancing his career at the store without the help of his name), there’s no excuse for his continued deception after this; we can’t help feeling sorry for Pickford as she’s kept in the dark by the man she loves — and we certainly don’t blame her for her complex, conflicted reaction upon learning the truth. Regardless, if one can accept this discomfiting narrative hitch, the film remains an enjoyable cross-class romantic comedy, one which allowed Pickford to play a character perhaps closest to her own life story.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Mary Pickford as Maggie
- Charles “Buddy” Rogers as Joe
- Fine cinematography by David Kesson and Charles Rosher
Yes, for Pickford’s fine performance.
- Noteworthy Performance(s)