Mary Pickford: 1911 Film Discovered In Barn Is Restored

Mary Pickford’s film, Their First Misunderstanding, is now fully restored. The 1911 film was discovered inside a New Hampshire barn. The film will premier at Keene State College.

The barn was located on property previously owned by a summer camp. The new owner hired carpenter Peter Massie to remove the barn. He told the carpenter he could keep anything he found inside.

Massie was in the process of demolishing the barn when he found six vintage reels. Massie routinely finds interesting items in his line of work. However, he says the film was “the coolest thing” he has ever discovered.

As reported by ABC News, Massie eventually donated the reels to Keene State. Larry Benaquist, with the college’s film department, decided to restore the films.

According to Benaquist, the film is extraordinarily rare. Only 10 percent of reels produced before 1930 remain.

Benaquist says the film was originally around 10 minutes long. However, the first minute was unable to be restored. The remaining nine minutes are now fully restored.

The film features Mary Pickford and her first husband. The couple portrays newlyweds having their first argument.

Their First Misunderstanding was a breakthrough for Pickford. It was the first film that she actually wrote and starred in. It is also the first film which featured her name in promotional materials.

As reported by PBS, studios historically omitted performers names from advertising. They were concerned performers would demand more pay if their names became well-known.

Before the release of Their First Misunderstanding, Pickford was simply known as “Little Mary” or “The Girl with the Curls.”

Pickford was one of Hollywood’s first stars. In addition to her film career, she also helped found and establish United Artists studio and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The Mary Pickford film will be shown in a special screening at the college next month.

[Image via Wikimedia]