Yes, that's Carole Lombard -- all of 18 at the time -- playing a "flirty blonde salesgirl" opposite Charles "Buddy" Rogers in the 1927 silent comedy "My Best Girl," one of Mary Pickford's best movies (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/33953.html). And if you're in the Bay Area next month, you'll have a chance to see it as it should be seen...on a big screen in a theater, alongside other film fans.
"My Best Girl" will be shown at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16 at the fabled Castro Theatre in San Francisco, co-sponsored by the Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) and 42nd Street Moon.
Author Jeffrey Vance tells of how he sat next to Rogers during a showing of "My Best Girl" and noted, "he would chime in with some wonderful comments. Yes, this moment had him saying 'That's Carole Lombard!' [It's something many people who have seen the film don't realize, as she was unbilled.] During the famous packing crate love scene, he shouted proudly, 'The first time I kissed Mary!' and the whole audience burst into applause."
It wouldn't be the last time, either; Rogers married Pickford in 1937, a union that lasted until her death in 1979.
"My Best Girl" is part of a day-long program at the Castro. There's a silent, live-action "Snow White" from 1916 at 10 a.m.; an array of Buster Keaton shorts at noon; the 1924 "The Thief Of Bagdad," the masterpiece swashbuckler starring Pickford's earlier husband Douglas Fairbanks Sr., at 2:30 p.m.; and director F.W. Murnau's 1926 "Faust" at 9. Tickets for each performance are $15, though you can also get a day pass for $70 (or $50 if you're a member of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival). To learn more, go to http://silentfilm.org/special-events/silent-winter-2013.
As for Rogers and Lombard, they would meet again on screen in the spring of 1930 in what would be Carole's Paramount debut, "Safety In Numbers."