Helen Gardner’s silent film career peaked three times. The first peak came in 1911 with her performance as Becky Sharp in Vanity Fair (1911), important as an early three-reel film, forerunner of four-reel and longer feature films. A review in the Moving Picture World praised the Vitagraph Company of America for the film’s wonderful fidelity to Thackeray’s novel. The reviewer was thrilled with Gardner’s performance: “We might ramble on for hours in ecstasies over the superb work of Miss Gardner and at the end of that time have given but a faint idea of what we saw her do” (887). When Vanity Fair was released, in December of 1911, Gardner had been with Vitagraph about a year and a half.
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