Cast & Crew
Charles [buddy] Rogers
Maggie, a shopgirl in a five-and-ten-cent store, falls in love with the owner's son, who gives up his society sweetheart for her. Learning of their affair, the boy's father unsuccessfully tries to buy Maggie off. When she later indicates her willingness to give his son up for his own good by posing as a golddigger, the father becomes convinced of Maggie's worth and agrees to the marriage.
Charles [buddy] Rogers
Frank Finch Smiles
My Best Girl
A harried, clumsy stock girl who works at a bustling five and dime store, Maggie Johnson (Mary Pickford) has her hands just as full at home where she presides over an eccentric family living in "the swellest house on Goat Hill" she proudly proclaims of their ramshackle homestead.
Maggie's father is a long-suffering postman (Lucien Littlefield) saddled with a plump wife (Sunshine Hart) whose hobby is attending strangers' funerals and a hotsy totsy jazz age daughter Liz (Carmelita Geraghty), with a ne'er-do-well boyfriend. Maggie devotedly cooks supper and gets her sister out of scrapes with the law while spending her working days stocking cooking pots and running countless errands at the five and dime.
When a good-looking young man, Joe Grant (Charles "Buddy" Rogers) reports to the stockroom, Maggie eagerly shows him the ropes and the pair have several amusing adventures together. Their future happiness seems guaranteed until Maggie learns Joe is not just some struggling storeroom clerk, but the son of the shop's millionaire owner, Mr. Merrill (Hobart Bosworth). Though engaged to a beautiful aristocrat, Millicent (Avonne Taylor), Joe soon finds himself falling head over heels for the humble, silly shop girl with her open-hearted nature and dreamy outlook on life. But when he reveals his true identity and his engagement to Millicent, their relationship crumbles and it looks like the end of their romance.
There are many twists and turns in store in this captivating comedy about lovers from opposite sides of the tracks which demonstrated director Taylor's deft hand with light comedy and the undeniable chemistry between Pickford and Rogers. In preparation for her performance as Maggie, Pickford had even donned glasses and worked in "disguise" as a salesgirl in an actual Hollywood five and dime.
My Best Girl was Pickford's last silent picture and the first with Taylor, a veteran of Harold Lloyd comedies and an expert at crafting effervescent fare like My Best Girl. Taylor would go on to direct all of Pickford's remaining films except forSecrets (1933). Considered one of Pickford's best films, My Best Girl was released at New York's Rialto theater. Its release came at a pivotal time for both Pickford and the motion pictures. The silent age was largely at an end, and Pickford, who had made her reputation and fortune as one of the silent era's darlings, found adjusting to the new era of talking pictures a fresh challenge. It was a hurdle which she partly overcame with her next film Coquette (1929) in which she played a sophisticated flapper with bobbed hair. The film won the actress an Oscar, an award many saw as an honor bestowed, not just for Coquette, but in celebration of Pickford's entire film career.
After the release of My Best Girl Pickford decided to radically change her innocent screen image, and cut off her famous curly locks and began to take on more adult roles. As she told an interviewer in a statement that could have easily applied to My Best Girl "I am sick of Cinderella parts, of wearing rags and tatters. I want to wear smart clothes and play the lover. I created a certain type of character and now I think it is practically finished."
Pickford's co-star in My Best Girl, Buddy Rogers, was a straight arrow from Kansas, son of a judge and a Sunday school teacher, and eleven years Pickford's junior. Rogers had auditioned for the role with Pickford, who initially seemed unlikely to pick him for her leading man when she asked him "Mr. Rogers, do you consider me a great actress?" and he replied "My favorite is Norma Shearer."
But Rogers secured the part of Joe Grant and was so visibly infatuated with the married Pickford during the filming of My Best Girl that Pickford told writer/director Frances Marion, "I think he's got a crush on me." Others also noticed the strong attraction between the two actors, especially Pickford's current husband Douglas Fairbanks, who visited the set of My Best Girl one day. There he saw Charles and Mary filming a love scene and immediately had a strange feeling about it that was "more than jealousy. I suddenly felt afraid."
Those initial signs of a blooming love affair between Pickford and Rogers would eventually spill over into real life when Rogers became Pickford's third and final husband in 1937. The couple were married for 42 years.
Rogers role in My Best Girl ushered in the beginning of the good-looking actor's movie stardom, eventually earning him the moniker "America's Boyfriend." That nickname certainly jibed with Pickford's honorary title as "America's Sweetheart" for the lovable, sunny girls she played in films such as Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1917) and Pollyanna (1920). Cecil B. DeMille once said of Pickford "There have been hundreds of stars, there have been scores of fine actresses in motion pictures. There has been only one Mary Pickford."
Director: Sam Taylor
Producer: Mary Pickford
Screenplay: Hope Loring, Allen McNeil, and Tim Whelan; based on the novel of the same name by Kathleen Norris
Cinematography: Charles Rosher
Production Design: Jack Schulze
Music: Gaylord Carter
Cast: Mary Pickford (Maggie Johnson), Charles "Buddy" Rogers (Joe Grant), Sunshine Hart (Ma Johnson), Lucien Littlefield (Pa Johnson), Hobart Bosworth (Mr. Merrill), Carmelita Geraghty (Liz Johnson).
by Felicia Feaster