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Sunday, April 14
The Indiana Daily Student

arts iu cinema

IU Cinema to host silent film expert

Christel Schmidt’s work in silent film is making a lot of noise.

Schmidt, who has been awarded two fellowships from the National Endowment of the Humanities, will speak about iconic silent film actress Mary Pickford at 3 p.m. Thursday at the IU Cinema.

“I would describe Mary Pickford as something much more than a ‘superstar’ by Hollywood’s standards today,” IU Cinema Director Jon Vickers said. “She was the first, maybe the only woman, to actually own a film studio.”

The lecture will discuss Pickford’s role on and off the silver screen during World War I. Much of the lecture will draw from Schmidt’s work in the book “Mary Pickford: Queen of the Movies.”

“She has edited this book on Pickford, which is actually receiving quite a bit of praise,” Vickers said. “She has taken previous writings from very famous film scholars like Kevin Brownlow and incorporated those into the edited version.”

Copies of the book will be available for purchase after the lecture.

“It’s a beautiful book with academic value,” Vickers said. “It’s well put-together and something the Library of Congress is very proud of.”

Later that evening, the Cinema will play 1921’s “Sparrows,” a Pickford classic about orphan life on a farm. “Sparrows” is noted for its use of stylized film sets and the growing influence of German expressionist cinema on American filmmakers in the 1920s.

“Sparrows,” directed by William Beaudine, will start at 7 p.m. Thursday.

The film is considered by many to be Pickford’s greatest work, including her on-screen foil Charlie Chaplin.

“Between her and Charlie Chaplin owning a studio together, she was as big of a powerhouse in Hollywood as it gets,” Vickers said. “She had a lot of control.”
Schmidt’s lecture, as part of the Jorgensen Lecture Series, does not require a ticket for permission.

The viewing of “Sparrows” is also free, but tickets are required for admission. Tickets are available at the IU Auditorium Box Office.

Philip Carli will provide live piano accompaniment to the silent film.

For more information about Schmidt, Pickford  or other movies showing at the IU Cinema, go to the theater’s website at

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