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.
We’re going to be unboxing the DVD/Bluray edition of Undercrank Productions’ much-anticipated released of the restored Marion Davies epic, When Knighthood Was in Flower.
Ready for another taste test of a vintage celebrity recipe? Here we go! This time around, we’re trying a breakfast/brunch dish from Marion Davies. As you may recall, we tried her recipe for cheese patties a while back. (You can catch up on all my past taste tests here.) This recipe is from a 1933 souvenir booklet.
Marion Davies stars in a solid little crowdpleaser about orphans, bandits, the desert and a whole bunch of wabbits. Davies and her adopted kid brother, Zander, evade the orphanage and set out to find his father in the Arizona desert. They find Harrison Ford (the first one!), a bandit and general no-goodnik who seems to be the man they are looking for.
A cute concept that collapses under the weight of too many characters (21 in the opening credits!), too many plot threads and too many false climaxes. Marion Davies is utterly charming as an Irish girl who poses as her own brother to claim an inheritance but she is crushed under the leaden story and unimaginative direction. Also, steamships. Go head. Ask me anything about steamships.
Marion Davies throws herself into this wacky comedy about a young woman who is undeniably second place in her mother’s affections. She responds by acting out and delightful chaos ensues.
Marion Davies directed by Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle should have been comedy gold but this Dutch-themed picture trips over its own sabot and never recovers.
I try to keep my readers informed about the latest and greatest in the world of silent movie crowdfunding and here’s a campaign that is surpassing everyone’s expectations. I’m pretty psyched.
A picture is worth a thousand words? Then a GIF is worth a million! Fans of this site will know that I love me some GIFs but some are particularly useful for snark, social media interactions and just plain fun.
To completely mangle a quote (as I am wont to do), all silent stars are GIF-able, some are more GIF-able than others. Marion Davies is part of that select group.
Some jokes are so appallingly bad that they can only be met with one reaction: sarcastic, stone-faced laughter. And who better to deliver the putdown than Marion Davies, one of the funniest comedians ever to grace the screen?
Marion Davies stars as an impoverished Irishwoman who takes her brother’s identity in order to gain an inheritance in America. Supposedly, the story is about the pioneering commercial steam ship industry but we all know that Marion is the real draw.
Marion Davies’ gift for zaniness and mimicry are put to good use in this family comedy. Davies is Pat, the patsy of her family. Her mother (Marie Dressler) prefers her more sophisticated sister and Pat always has to take second place. But what will happen when both daughters fall for the same man? Zaniness, of course!
As you may have noticed, my site has been a bit wonky these past few days. Without getting into too much technical detail, the redecorating that I was doing revealed a pretty huge problem “under the hood” and I have been scrambling to fix it.
Marion Davies is a wacky Dutch maiden who dreams of romance. Of course, everything goes wrong in the zaniest way possible, that’s a given. Owen Moore is on hand as the Irish tourist who wins our heroine’s heart but Karl Dane and Louise Fazenda easily steal the show as the film’s secondary couple.
Welcome back! I am cooking my way through the 1929 Photoplay cookbook (recipes of the stars!) and you are invited to tag along. (I have listed all the recipes I have tested on this dedicated page. Check back often.) Today, we will be testing a recipe from one of the most sparkling personalities of the silent era.
On January 3, 1897, two baby girls were born an ocean apart. Apolonia Chalupec, the daughter of a Slovakian immigrant living in Lipno, Poland. Marion Douras was born in Brooklyn, New York. Both women adopted more glamorous surnames (Apolonia shortened her given name for good measure) and became famous as Pola Negri and Marion Davies.
It takes a really good actor to play a really bad actor. In this case, Marion Davies plays a kid who just wants to make it big in pictures. Unfortunately, she lacks one important skill: She cannot cry on command. Never one to be deterred, our intrepid heroine starts to get imaginative with her methods.
This is from Show People, her best silent and one of the most effervescent films of the era. It’s a delight.
Availability: Show People was released on DVD by Warner Archive. Unfortunately, it has the original Vitaphone score instead of the delightful Carl Davis score that accompanied the VHS release.
A sort of orphanage-western-drama-comedy, Zander the Great was one of Marion Davies’ big hits and her first film for the newly-merged MGM. She is an orphan who takes in a small boy and then sets out for Arizona in search of his father, who may or may not be a bootlegger. On the way, she meets Harrison Ford, who really is a bootlegger. A darling bit of fluff from the pen of Frances Marion.
There are two frustrating things about being a silent movie fan. Lost films are the number one vexation. That is, no known copy exists. Second place goes to the sheer number of films that are stuck in archive vaults and simply not famous enough to ever earn home media release. These “vaulties” may crop up at film festivals now and again but are otherwise completely forgotten.
Now I absolutely do not want to come off as negative toward archivists. They are hard-working professionals and they have a daunting job. I understand that more famous films that will sell thousands of copies are considered higher priority than movies that may sell, say, a hundred or so discs.
That’s why I am so excited about a certain Kickstarter campaign…
Let’s say you want to see a movie. You know it is in the public domain because it was released before 1923. However, the only prints are held by the Library of Congress. The folks at LoC will gladly give you a copy but the cost of the transfer is over $1,000. That’s a lot of money for most people. What to do?
Well, there must be other people who want to see that film. If they gave just $25 each…
Which brings us to Edward Lorusso’s Kickstarter campaign. The target film is Marion Davies’ 1921 romantic comedy Enchantment. The price tag is $1,300 for the Library of Congress to transfer the picture. The incentive? Each person who donates $25 or more will receive a DVD copy of the movie. This means that just 52 silent film fans working together can return a vaultie to the public.
The campaign was funded in just two days and it looks like folks are still donating (the fundraising event is slated to last until February 7, 2014). Documentaries and new movies have been funded through Kickstarter before but, in my opinion, this is a huge game-changer for silent film fans. Instead of bemoaning the lack of film selection (heck I have a whole series on films in vaults) we can take action to get these movies released once more. Yes, $1,300 is a hefty price tag for a single film but I dare say that most silent titles have at least 50 people interested in seeing them. Even without recognizable stars or a famous director, the sheer rarity of some vault treasures will send silent fans racing to donate.
Congratulations to Mr. Lorusso for his brilliant idea and his successful campaign. I hope it is just the first of many film rescues in the silent community.
Goodness, I feel so revolutionary!
Oh, and look for a review of Enchantment once I get my copy!
After completing posters for the silent Nolan Batman trilogy and working on my designs for James Bond and Indiana Jones, I am a burned out on male-led blockbusters. So, how’s about some girl stuff? Enchanted is, of course, a clever 2007 send-up by Disney about Disney. I have to confess that I am not an enormous fan of Disney films in general but I thoroughly enjoyed this one.
I was reading through 1927 issues of Photoplay magazine (as one does) and I came across a capsule review for the Marion Davies vehicle The Red Mill.
Here is the interesting part of the review:
Here is a fairly amusing comedy with the star giving a cheery performance of the Holland hoyden. Incidentally, the direction is the work of William Goodrich, who is no other than Fatty Arbuckle under his newer megaphone cognomen.
You see, I always had the impression that Arbuckle’s William Goodrich years were an open secret among Hollywood folks but not known to the general public. The scandal that destroyed his career was a doozy (although the poor man was almost surely innocent). However, here is a mainstream entertainment magazine trumpeting the new identity.
You learn something new every day.
The wonderful Marion Davies delights in Show People. This time, her character is showing off her acting skills by reading bad news in a letter. It takes a very good actress to pull off playing such a bad actress, I say.
This is basically how I look when I get my phone bill and discover that I have gone over my data plan. Or, I should say, how I used to look in the olden days when you needed a paper bill to monitor your usage.
Marion Davies knocks ’em dead in this witty comedy about showbiz. In a tale that is a combination of Gloria Swanson’s story and Merton of the Movies, Marion plays a newcomer to Hollywood who wants to make her mark in drama. William Haines, a kindly slapstick comedian, takes her under his wing and her career begins to take off but she soon outgrows him. Will her emerging ego destroy her career or will she realize who her real friends are?
I wish I could come up with a more clever description. But the plain description is pretty great.
Status: Print held in the MGM/UA archive. Was released on VHS by the defunct dealer Videobrary but is now unavailable.
Then, as now, there were some people who just did not want to see a silent drama.