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Rags & Riches: The Mary Pickford Collection Blu-ray

United States
The Poor Little Rich Girl / The Hoodlum + short 'Ramona' / Sparrows Milestone | 1910-1926 | 3 Movies | 274 min | Not rated | Nov 06, 2012

Rags & Riches: The Mary Pickford Collection (Blu-ray)
Temporary cover art

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Resolution: 1080i
Aspect ratio: see individual releases
Original aspect ratio: see individual releases

Music: LPCM 2.0
English: LPCM 2.0
Note: English intertitles...

See individual releases

25GB Blu-ray Disc
Three-disc set (3 BDs)

Region free

List price: $39.95, Price history

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Blu-ray rating
Video 3.5 of 53.5
Audio 4.0 of 54.0
Extras 4.0 of 54.0
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Rags & Riches: The Mary Pickford Collection


Rags & Riches: The Mary Pickford Collection Blu-ray offers solid video and great audio in this excellent Blu-ray release

No synopsis for Rags & Riches: The Mary Pickford Collection.

For more about Rags & Riches: The Mary Pickford Collection and the Rags & Riches: The Mary Pickford Collection Blu-ray release, see Rags & Riches: The Mary Pickford Collection Blu-ray Review published by on where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.

Starring: Mary Pickford
Directors: Maurice Tourneur, William Beaudine

This Blu-ray bundle includes the following titles, see individual titles for specs and details:

The Poor Little Rich Girl
(No Release Date)

The Hoodlum
(No Release Date)

(No Release Date)

Rags & Riches: The Mary Pickford Collection Blu-ray, Video Quality

  3.5 of 5

In all of the video evaluations that follow, allowance must be made for the age and condition of the surviving elements. All three films have been tinted in individual scenes, as per conventions of the period. However, with the exception of Sparrows, no archival materials have survived providing specific guidelines for the tints to be used on any particular scene or film.

All three films have been encoded at 1080i with the AVC codec.

The Poor Little Rich Girl (1917)
Score: 3.5/5

The Poor Little Rich Girl has been restored by the Library of Congress archivists, but the source materials appear to be the weakest of the three films in this set. Still, despite numerous small scratches, dust and other marks, the image has retained its integrity and almost no frames are missing. A remarkable amount of detail is visible for a film of this vintage, more than enough to appreciate director Tourneur's meticulous compositions and Pickford's thoroughly realized performance as an eleven-year-old. The tint shifts are effective in establishing changes in mood and tone, especially as the film moves into its darker third act.

The Hoodlum (1919)
Score: 4/5

A credit at the end of The Hoodlum states that it has been restored by the Academy Film Archive of the Association of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, with color tints selected by the Mary Pickford Foundation. Though made only two years later than Rich Girl, The Hoodlum survives with a superior image, no doubt due to the preservation of superior elements. With the crisper, more detailed image, the film's stark contrast between Amy's privileged existence on Riverside Drive and the dust and squalor of the tenement neighborhood downtown is placed squarely before the viewer's eyes, just as it appears to Amy. At the same time, the energy and bustle of the crowded streets and back window fire escapes have a visual appeal that the static (indeed, stuffy) compositions of the Guthrie household cannot match. As presented on Blu-ray, the restored elements bring Amy's two worlds to life as she builds a bridge between them.

Sparrows (1926)
Score: 3.5/5

According to information supplied by Milestone Films, Sparrows has been restored by the Library of Congress using a 35mm dupe negative and an original tinted nitrate release print. Therefore, in this instance, the various choices of tint can claim to be historically accurate. (Note, however, that the tints vary from what is described in the "Intro and Outro" sequences included with the film; see Special Features for further discussion.) The source materials seem to be in substantially better shape than those that the Library of Congress had for The Poor Little Rich Girl, but it appears that someone tried to clean them up even more with digital filtering. Although significant detail remains, the image has a softened, flattened appearance that is immediately obvious in comparison to the other two films included in Rags & Riches. While this loss of detail may not be immediately obvious in earlier portions of the film, where black and white scenes remain predominant, it becomes problematic later when dark tints prevail. With the darker image, any loss of picture information, no matter how small, makes the image less distinct and reduces the impact of the image. You may want to turn up your contrast to compensate (but you shouldn't have to).

Restoration of materials from this era is more art than science, and I always hesitate to secondguess archivists when I haven't seen the source from which they started. Nevertheless, it appears to me from the final product that too heavy a hand was applied in smoothing out the image. My philosophy, which I believe is shared by my fellow reviewers at, is that it's better to leave in grain, noise and damage, if you can't remove them without subtracting picture information.

Rags & Riches: The Mary Pickford Collection Blu-ray, Audio Quality

  4.0 of 5

All three films have PCM 2.0 tracks with newly recorded orchestral scores, and I have not scored them separately, because they're equally superb. Indeed, one of the glories of Rags & Riches on Blu-ray is its ability to convey, even on a relatively modest home theater system, the full orchestral presence that is such an essential element of the silent film experience. (The term "silent film" has always been a misnomer.)

The score for The Poor Little Rich Girl was composed and conducted by Philip Carli and performed by the Flower City Society Orchestra of Rochester, New York, an exceptional group of artists who specialize in recreating music from the era of ragtime. The PCM 2.0 track gives the sense that the orchestra is arrayed across the front of your home theater's soundstage, performing Dr. Carli's score as an orchestra might have done in major venues when the film was first released. The score follows and emphasizes every emotional turn, from the comical mud fight that Pickford's director wanted so badly to cut, to the grim final act where Gwendolyn's circumstances become genuinely dire.

The Hoodlum was scored by film composer Bonnie Ruth Janofsky and performed by the Rousse Philharmonic conducted by the Blu-ray's producer, Hugh Munro Neely. Janofsky is a talented composer, but her score sounded somewhat contemporary to my ear, less authentically period and more like a modern reimagining of a ragtime instrumental. Its performance is nevertheless reproduced with fine fidelity and presence.

Neely and the Rousse Philharmonic return for Sparrows, with the score now written by film and theater composer Jeffrey Silverman. Like Sparrows itself, Silverman's score mixes elements of both an older tradition and a sensibility that feels entirely contemporary. The PCM 2.0 track delivers the orchestral presence with the same authority as on the other two film soundtracks.

As part of the "kid-friendly bonus features" discussed in greater detail in the extras section, each movie has an alternate track in which the intertitles are narrated by a speaker, along with a few randomly chosen actions occurring between the intertitles. (The speaker is James Leedom, the actor who plays "Grandfather" in the "Intro and Outro" extras described below.) Presumably this track could be useful for younger children whose reading skills haven't yet progressed to the point of being able to read the full intertitles, but I do not recommend it. In order to accommodate the narration at an appropriate volume, the orchestral score has been mixed at a lower volume overall. When the narration interjects, the orchestra recedes to the background, and its effect is greatly diminished. Much of the impact of this style of filmmaking derives from letting the music push the viewer's feelings first this way, then that. The effect is ruined when voices are allowed to drown out the music.

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Rags & Riches: The Mary Pickford Collection Blu-ray, News and Updates

Rags & Riches Collection: The Films of Mary Pickford - July 7, 2012

Independent distributors Milestone have revealed that they are planning to release on Blu-ray Rags & Riches Collection: The Films of Mary Pickford. The 3-disc collection will include four films: The Poor Little Rich Girl (1917), The Hoodlum (1919), Ramona (1910), ...

Rags & Riches: The Mary Pickford Collection Blu-ray, Forum Discussions

Topic Replies Last post
Mary and Max 30 Oct 11, 2012
American Mary - June 18, 2013 28 Jun 21, 2013

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