Unboxing the Silents: Marion Davies Double Feature from Undercrank

Our Marion Davies cup runneth over with two more titles making their DVD debut this week. In addition to the Bluray release of When Knighthood Was in Flower, Undercrank Productions is presenting two other 1922 Marion Davies vehicles: Beauty’s Worth and The Bride’s Play.

If these titles sound familiar, they were both initially released as backer rewards for successful Kickstarter campaigns organized by Edward Lorusso. Both pictures have been preserved by the Library of Congress. Mr. Lorusso has joined forces with Ben Model’s Undercrank silent film line to make these films widely available via Amazon. Further, The Bride’s Play now has its original tinting scheme restored and Beauty’s Worth has had scene-by-scene exposure correction.

Thanks to Undercrank Productions for providing review copies of these new editions! As always, this is an overview of these particular releases, not a review of the films themselves.

How to buy

You can read further details and purchase all three of Undercrank’s Marion Davies films here.

Beauty’s Worth

Marion Davies plays a Quaker who gets a makeover from Forrest Stanley. Will there be a fashion show? You know it!

DVD menu

Here are some snapshots of the film to show off its quality. I have not altered them in any way.

Nice!

(There is an Alpha edition of Beauty’s Worth that is likely derived from a VHS transfer. It runs 112 minutes while the Undercrank release runs for just 75 minutes. This is not due to additional material, it’s just that the Alpha version is sloooooooooooowed doooooooooown. Oh dear. Needless to say, you get what you pay for.)

The film is accompanied by an organ score written and performed by Ben Model.

Available now on DVD.

The Bride’s Play

This film is one of those oh-so-silent-era hybrids that uses elaborate costume scenes to illustrate the moral of a modern story. It allowed filmmakers to have their epic cake and eat it too as the financial risk was considerably smaller. The Bride’s Play has an Irish flavor with its costume scenes taking place in medieval Erin.

DVD menu

And here are some sample snapshots:

The film is accompanied by a piano score written and performed by Ben Model.

Available now on DVD.

The release of these films is an excellent opportunity for Davies fans to snap up quality editions of rare titles, especially if they missed the Kickstarters. Kickstarter backers will also be interested as there are some nice improvements in place for both pictures.

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10 Replies to “Unboxing the Silents: Marion Davies Double Feature from Undercrank”

  1. Kudos to Ben! He basically re-edited and corrected these two films from SCRATCH from the Library of Congress files I had bought with Kickstarter support. I haven’t seen these copies yet, but from the screen caps I can see the upgrade. What a difference a professional makes! Plus Ben has reinstated the original tint designed for THE BRIDE’S PLAY.

    As noted, BEAUTY’S WORTH now runs at a brisk 75 minutes, at it’s intended speed. Same with WHEN KNIGHTHOOD WAS IN FLOWER, which now also runs at its intended speed. These timing corrections make a HUGE, HUGE difference. The slower versions from ancient VHS copies drag to the point of killing all humor and spontaneity … both hallmarks of Marion Davies films.

    1. Congrats to you both! Yes, nothing kills a silent film faster than the wrong speed. I’m glad to see Marion’s antics now have the proper amount of pep.

  2. Have ordered both on the strength of the stills (so lovely) and anticipated superb restorations and Model scores.

    We currently live not far from San Simeon and La Cuesta Encantada- visit there many times each year with out-of-town guests. These Davies films fit so well into Hearst’s Castle’s ambiance, just hand in glove 🙂

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