VCI Entertainment has entered into an agreement with the Mary Pickford Foundation to distribute the silent star’s archive of preserved and restored films with original music.
Available now on DVD from VCI are Fanchon the Cricket (1915) and Little Annie Rooney (1925). Both films are restored from 4K scans of the original negatives and feature new musical scores produced exclusively for these editions. In addition, the DVDs include picture filled liner notes with behind-the-scenes stories of the making of the movies and Pickford’s life at the time. The two titles were released initially on the Flicker Alley label.
The first Pickford film to debut on the VCI label will be the 4K restoration of Sparrows (1926), due Dec. 21 on Blu-ray, DVD and digitally. Sparrows has been restored by the Library of Congress and digitally mastered by the foundation, and it will feature an original orchestral score by the Graves Brothers. The release also contains bonus features, including never-before-seen outtakes, the original theatrical trailer, and a 16-page souvenir booklet featuring rare photographs and essays by the Mary Pickford Foundation.
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Mary Pickford was a performer, producer and businesswoman who helped shape the film industry. While she was a founder of United Artists, the Motion Picture Television Fund and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, her greatest fame came as an actor. In less than a decade, she went from making $10 a week to being the first actor to be offered $1 million a year. She starred in more than 100 short films and more than two dozen feature films.
“It is hard to find the words to express our gratitude for the opportunity the Mary Pickford Foundation has given us,” said VCI Entertainment president Robert Blair in a statement. “It is an honor and a privilege just to be connected to such a Hollywood icon. The Mary Pickford films will automatically become the crown jewels in our library, and represent the embodiment of our mission to preserve, restore and champion classic movies.”
Distributed by the MVD Entertainment Group, VCI Entertainment is the oldest surviving independent home video company in the United States (celebrating its 45th Anniversary in 2021), and a distributor of classic and eclectic entertainment content for DVD, Blu-ray, TV, cable and digital platforms. The VCI library contains more than 6,000 titles, including feature films, episodes and short subjects. The library spans many genres and contains several notable classic films and documentaries, including The Miracle of Marcelino (1955), Chariots of the Gods (1970), and what is billed as the first “movie produced for the home video market” Blood Cult (1985).
Pickford’s philanthropy was a hallmark of her entire life and by creating her foundation, she assured that her commitment to her craft, her community and her giving would continue behind her passing in 1979. The Mary Pickford Foundation works to inspire future generations of women and filmmakers in many ways, including the restoration, preservation and distribution of her films.