Seven years ago, a contractor was commissioned to tear down a decaying barn in the small New Hampshire town of Nelson. Before destroying the building, he checked out the barn to make sure it was empty.
On the second floor were an old film projector and seven reels of highly volatile nitrate films that weren’t even stored in cans. Four of the films had been considered lost including the 1911 Mary Pickford short “Their First Misunderstanding,” a comedy-drama about a newlywed couple’s first argument.
The Library of Congress is funding the restoration of “Their First Misunderstanding,” which was the first movie “America’s Sweetheart” made for Carl Laemmle‘s IMP (Independent Moving Picture Co.). The Library has the largest collection of Pickford movies, including the Oscar-winning actress/producer’s personal collection.
“Their First Misunderstanding” marked the first time Pickford was credited by name in a movie. The 18-year-old Pickford also wrote the film’s scenario and co-stars with her first husband, Owen Moore, whom she had just married. Legendary producer-director Thomas Ince, who is believed to have directed “Their First Misunderstanding,” also appears in the short.
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