It is interesting how these early talkies make one yearn for the silent screen, when you didn't have to try to understand what people were saying to get the plot - and the acting relied on something more than recitation.
Mary was a little stagy (so was the film to be honest) but as the film moved forward so did Mary's acting due to her stage history she was very capable talkie actress & was able to hold her own.
She played the Southern Belle with Melodrama ensured it was a little over the top but this far more technically advanced talkie film considering it was made in 1929 the exact year of complete cross over from silent to sound.
If you a follower of Mary this is a must....
The first of the movie stars to embrace the new medium, she had a sound stage build on in her own Pickfair, and she actually had the best equipment around. Many early sound films have barely any movement, since the slightest superfluous sound (the soft clinking of an actress' bracelet for instance) would be magnified on film and actually drown out the dialog. The camera was often placed behind clear glass plates to remedy this, but this still made it impossible to have scenes with a lot of motion. Because of Pickford's investments in technological advancements, "Coquette" has a lot of natural movement and different camera perspectives, a feat the major studios would not really accomplish until later in the Thirties.
While the story is old as dirt (even in 1929, when the dirt was still a lot younger), and the acting suffers a little from the too florid mannerisms of silent film melodrama - after all the area of Pickford's expertise - there are several surprisingly powerful scenes in which she gives a heart-wrenching performance (though admittedly, other than these scenes, she seems to do little more than pout and blink a lot) .
Pickford won the Oscar for her performance, only the second time it was given out. Of course, she was one (of only 3 women being the only actress, and of 36 total) of the founders of the Academy and the Oscar, leading to a lot of talk about using her influence to win, although there's no basis for this, as this film and her part in it were at the time highly esteemed by audience and critics alike. Pickford is also supposed to have defended herself once by saying that if she was going to cheat, she would have done it to win the very first Oscar ever, not the second.
Coquette, ah challenge you to a duel! Pistols at dawn!