The main attraction on this disc is 1921's 'Through the Back Door,' which follows Jeanne (Mary Pickford) through three parts of her life. First we see her as a small child with her mother, who has a suitor named Elton Reeves. Elton isn't the nicest guy, as he doesn't really want Jeanne around and, after successfully pressuring her mother into taking him as her second husband, makes it clear that they're going to America without Jeanne. Jeanne's mother isn't completely happy about this arrangement, but because she wants to obey her new husband, she leaves Jeanne in the care of her nanny Marie. About 5 years pass, and now Jeanne is quite happy living the life of a simple mischievous farm girl with her adoptive parents Marie and Jacques. Marie is incensed when she gets a letter from Jeanne's mother, saying she and Elton are coming for a visit and finally going to take Jeanne with them to their new home in America. They even have a whole new wardrobe for her to wear. However, since Marie has grown quite attached to the girl and is angry at her mother for leaving her and then never contacting them till now, she sends Jeanne out of the house when she knows the Reeveses will be stopping by. When they are there, she lies that Jeanne drownt in the river and the body was not recovered. However, this isn't the last we hear of Jeanne's mother and stepfather, as about five more years later WWI breaks out, and Marie decides to send Jeanne away from Belgium. She gives her a written confession the local priest witnessed, so she can give it to her mother in America as proof of her identity. On her way to leaving Belgium, Jeanne also adopts two young boys who have just been orphaned, and then they're all off to the Reeves mansion. The Reeveses no longer have the greatest marriage, and due to her duties as a maid, Jeanne's plans to break the news to her mother and to have a happy reunion have to be put on hold until the time seems right. The reality is different from the fantasy, though Jeanne keeps hoping things will turn out right for everyone in the end.
The other film on this disc is the 1914 version of 'Cinderella,' which really begins right in the middle of things (leading one to perhaps feel there might be some early footage missing), not really taking any time to develop characters or what's going on. The print also looks somewhat the worse for wear, and some aspects of it, such as certain costumes, look rather primitive, but to be fair, this is from 1914 after all. One can't expect most movies from 1914 to be in tip-top shape or to look as smooth and polished or to be as perfectly plotted as a film from even 10 or 20 years later. Leaving aside that, it is a pretty charming film, with a great soundtrack, and stars Mary Pickford's first husband, Owen Moore, as her leading man, the role he often filled onscreen in the early Teens.
Both of these films are fun, cute, and charming, and it's great such rare films are finally commercially available after remaining unseen for so long, but overall they're not quite what I would consider absolutely top-notch material.