Mary Pickford's Lost 'Their First Misunderstanding' To Be Shown

Image: Mary Pickford's Lost 'Their First Misunderstanding' To Be Shown

Wednesday, 25 Sep 2013 10:31 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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A lost film that Mary Pickford, a giant of the silent film era, starred in was found in a New Hampshire barn in 2006 and will be shown this October.

The restored 10-minute film, "Their First Misunderstanding," will be shown at Keene State College in New Hampshire on Oct. 11. "Misunderstanding" was among seven 35-mm film reels donated to the school several years ago, the college said.

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The 1911 film, which was long thought to be lost, was Pickford's first picture made for the Independent Motion Picture Co. (IMP). The Library of Congress agreed to restore it, and Christel Schmidt, author of "Mary Pickford: Queen of the Movies," will host what is being called the "re-premiere."

Not only was Pickford the most popular film actress of her day, but she was an industry heavyweight, co-founding United Artists with her husband Douglas Fairbanks along with Charlie Chaplin and D.W. Griffith, according to

She also helped launch the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Peter Massie told the New Hampshire Union Leader that he found the film in the trash of a barn in Nelson, N.H. that he was preparing to tear down.  

"I was up in the attic, and tucked away over in a corner was some film, film canisters and a silent movie projector," Massie said. As a movie fan, he brought the reels and projector home with him and turned it over to Keene State.

Schmidt said that Massie's discovery is a major find for the motion picture industry.

"Most of Pickford's remarkable career took place during the 1910s and 1920s, a period when women gained power and influence in the public sphere and won social freedoms," Schmidt said to the Union Leader. "Off-screen, this star was the era's most famous and arguably influential woman.

"She was a savvy power player who, by 1918, had accumulated an impressive amount of wealth and had complete creative control over her work. She was a true heroine and a positive role model. This particular piece was considered lost, and it's a very big deal that it is preserved," Schmidt continued.

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