Shortly after cementing her reputation as a rising ingenue in Hollywood with the role of Wendy in Peter Pan, Mary Brian became one of the most in-demand heroines of the silent film era. In this sweetly romantic yet sophisticated portrait of the beauty queen, Eugene Robert Richee, the Paramount Pictures studio photographer (best known for his portraits of Louise Brooks) captures her complex allure. This double weight large format photograph was hand printed by Richee, and never intended for public distribution.
The hand written press notations on verso read “Mary Brian, The Enchanted Hill, Irvin Willat, Paramount Production.” Additionally, there is a studio/photographer ink stamp on verso, as seen.
Biography of Mary Brian by Hal Erickson
One of the best-liked silent movie stars both on and off the screen, Mary Brian came to Hollywood in 1923 by way of a beauty contest. Her first screen role was Wendy in the 1924 version of “Peter Pan,” which resulted in a long-term contract with Paramount Pictures. Mary proved herself equal to the challenge of the microphone with her spirited portrayal of the frontier heroine in her first all-talkie, “The Virginian” (1929). Her career lost momentum in the early 1930s, though she briefly rallied with an amusing turn as W.C. Fields’ faithful daughter in “The Man on the Flying Trapeze” (1935) (a repeat of her role in the 1927 silent “Running Wild”) and an uncharacteristic appearance as a heartbreaking femme fatale in the 1936 Henry Fonda vehicle “Spendthrift.” Mary retired in 1937, making sporadic comebacks in such low-budgeters of the 1940s as “I Escaped from the Gestapo.” Mary Brian’s last on-camera assignment was as Ann Baker’s mother on the 1954 syndicated sitcom Meet Corliss Archer.