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Heart o' the Hills

4.1 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(May 03, 2005)
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Editorial Reviews

Heart O' the Hills was one of four films Mary Pickford released in 1919 and the last she would make for a distributor other than her own. It was a tumultuous year for Mary, who was running her own studio, forming United Artists and conducting a clandestine affair with Douglas Fairbanks. A backwoods melodrama about land-grabbing in the mountains of Kentucky, the film gave Mary the chance to extend her range from her previous half-dozen parts. For almost two years, audiences had seen her in a series of urban settings or in familiar roles from popular projects. Heart o# the Hills, with its often brutal subject matter and frank treatment of poverty, could hardly have been a greater change of pace from the lighthearted Daddy-Long-Legs. Mary had played characters like this before; the dramatic result, culminating in a memorable court trial sequence, would prove to be a dramatic and critical success.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Mary Pickford
  • Format: Black & White, Full Screen, Silent, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: May 3, 2005
  • Run Time: 78 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007WFXU8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #241,311 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
The stronger of the two films presented here is the main feature, 1919's 'Heart o' the Hills.' It's an incredibly cute, sweet, charming film about the lives, loves, losses, and struggles of the backwoods folk of the mountains (complete with the intertitles rendered in their backwoods vernacular). They wish to preserve their simple country way of life against the big city "furriners" who are trying to move in on them, buy up their land, bring their modern way of life to town. There's also domestic turmoil involved, with both Mavis and Jason (Jasie), the main characters, not getting treated so well at home and being too young yet to run away and get married, and Mavis being swindled out of her inheritance. The big city folks do prove to be sympathetic in the long run, though, as they take Mavis in and raise her, trying to make up to her how she was cheated out of her inheritance and how things haven't been so good for her at home since her mother remarried and she's been falsely accused of a crime she admits she was party to but didn't actually commit herself. Jason has also left town to try to polish up his own image and to become the type of man Mavis finds educated, refined, and appealing. Six years pass, and we see whether or not the wrongs of the past will be righted, if the childhood sweethearts will reunite or if Mavis will decide to marry her handsome suitor Grey Pendleton, who is played by John Gilbert in a very early starring role, back when he still professionally went by Jack and was only nineteen or twenty years old. All in all, a really charming fun movie, and presented in a beautifully tinted print.Read more ›
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Format: DVD
Heart O' The Hills is the first film presented on this DVD, a cute film about Mavis, a mountain girl who finds herself getting into trouble without really doing anything to deserve it. The role is energetic, but nowhere near as feisty as other Pickford characters such as that in the second film on this DVD, M'Liss. She maintains her femininity throughout the film but makes an appropriately dramatic transition during the "six years later" part. Pickford's co-star played by Harold Goodwin is quite the companion and compliments her role very well.

One of the strongest scenes in the film is the dance sequence, a funny and cute romp that shows off Pickford's penchant for pluckiness.

This film is filled with beautiful scenery, but it is somewhat under-dramaticized by the strange contrast. Perhaps the tinting was not done correctly. The film is also somewhat damaged in places.

The worst part of the film is a score by Maria Newman which is terribly distracting and hardly fitting for the film. There are times when it is adequate, almost good, but in breaks a strange sound effect that ruins it. Perhaps Newman was trying to be unique, bringing a combination of traditional scoring and modern music together, but she failed miserably at producing a decent finished product.

Regardless, no amount of bad scoring could ever ruin a Mary Pickford performance.

M'Liss features the Mary Pickford that fans have by now become accustomed to. She is fun, young, spunky, full of personality, and motherly. The story is reminiscent of an amalgamation of other films such as Tess of the Storm Country and Little Annie Rooney. It is about a little uncivilized girl who finds someone dear to her murdered and another loved one accused.
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Format: DVD
Regardless of what Milestone would have us believe, the chief attraction of this disc is the 1918 "bonus feature," M'LISS, a film that's fizzy with Pickford's particular effervescence. The story is a slight one, but Mary's characteristically generous performance as a western firecracker, Frances Marion's sweet-and-sour intertitles and Marshall Neilan's perfectly tuned direction combine to form M'LISS into a picture that's appealing in the extreme and a great first experience for silent film novices. Highly recommended.

When you're done with that, you may want to sample the other film on the platter, THE HEART O' THE HILLS. It's not a bad picture by any means, just a little more ponderous and a little less fun than M'LISS.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
HEART O'THE HILLS was Mary Pickford's final film project before the formation of United Artists in 1919 and was her fourth film of that year. She had recently left Adolph Zukor and Paramount and was stretching her wings as an independent producer (they predicted she would fall flat on her face). It is one of a quartet of new Pickford releases from The Mary Pickford Foundation, Milestone Films and Image Entertainment and is one of Mary's best. The others three are LITTLE LORD FAUNTLEROY, SUDS, and THROUGH THE BACK DOOR.

The film is set in the mountains of Kentucky (it was shot in California) and deals with a young mountain girl's attempt to avenge the murder of her father. It gives Pickford another opportunity to do what she did best, a coming of age story in which she plays a young girl who becomes a young woman by the time the film is finished. The recreation of an isolated mountain community is remarkable although the dialect used in the title cards may annoy some people. It has fantastic scenery, outstanding photography, and mighty fine performances from all concerned. There's a nice turn from veteran silent villain Sam De Grasse and check out the young John (Jack) Gilbert in his first significant role as a lowland suitor.

In addition to the quality print used for the video transfer (it's sharp and well defined with color tints), there is a remarkable new score from Maria Newman which captures the flavor of old timey mountain music while still being thoroughly modern in style. For me it enhanced the viewing experience tremendously. The DVD also comes with a second Pickford feature, M'LISS from 1918.
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