drednm

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Everything posted by drednm

  1. drednm

    interesting poll on IMDb

    What lost silent film would you most like to find? https://www.imdb.com/poll/HY5MhhyhHe0/?ref_=po_ti
  2. drednm

    interesting poll on IMDb

    Unfortunately, they are too many lost films to choose from.
  3. drednm

    Funny Ladies.

    I also love the bit where Arthur gets the black market dress that does not fit. A comedy for grownups. And Dietrich's singing of 'Black Market" is worth the price of admission all by itself. Great film!
  4. drednm

    Funny Ladies.

    Yes I think it's a comedic role but in that droll Bill Wilder manner.
  5. drednm

    Funny Ladies.

    I agree. I remember FOREVER DARLING as a dud. Another Jean Arthur comedy that doesn't get much attention is THE IMPATIENT YEARS. And if they really wanted to showcase Marion Davies, CAIN AND MABEL would have been a good comedy talkie. She works really well with Clark Gable.
  6. drednm

    Funny Ladies.

    Carol Burnett always said Lucille Ball was a great influence on her comedy. Lucille Ball always said Marion Davies was a great influence on her comedy. I'm not sure if anyone was a great influence on Davies' comedy. I think it started with her; she invented it as she went along. Davies may have borrowed from contemporaries like Mabel Normand and Constance Talmadge and maybe from Mary Pickford (everyone borrowed from Mary Pickford), but Davies' comedy was mostly original and based on her own real-life personality. She found humor in everything. There's a story in the trades where Davies was at a swanky dinner and sitting nearby was character actor Vince Barnett. He was famous (infamous really) for trying to upset haughty Hollywood ladies by punking them at the height of their glamour. As Davies, dressed to the nines, was eating her salad, Barnett yelled out something like, "And stop spitting those olive pits all over the floor!" Davies laughed so hard she nearly fell off her chair. The other star Barnett could never punk was Marlene Dietrich, though he tried hard during the filming of Seven Sinners. Kind of like Tim Conway on the old Carol Burnett show, he tried everything to break her up while the cameras rolled but she never did. But as soon as the cameras stopped, she was practically on the floor laughing.
  7. drednm

    Funny Ladies.

    It was nice to see MARION DAVIES included in this retrospective, but she did a lot more comedies than SHOW PEOPLE.
  8. drednm

    Funny Ladies.

    Jean Arthur had shaved off a few years in her bio and assumed most filmgoers would have forgotten she had been in silent films dating back to 1923 (where she was never really a star). She sometimes gave 1905 and other times 1908 as her birth years and so seems quite a bit younger once she finally hit stardom. Her age eventually caught up with her and after a 4-year hiatus returned for the marvelous A Foreign Affair (1948) in which was was actually 48 years old but claiming 40. She was a year older than co-star Marlene Dietrich but looked older. Of course Dietrich used to deny she had ever appeared in silent films! Mae West also famously lied about her age, shaving off 6 or 7 years.
  9. drednm

    Hollywood Running Out of Ideas?

    Plus I think we're losing actors who can carry traditional drama and comedy. As the old-time directors like Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese and even Spielberg, the Cohens, and Eastwood, directors who like to tell stories about people, start to dwindle and slow down, we're losing films about reality. The younger directors seem to have grown up on comic books and endless fantasy foolishness. Other than indie films, there's not a lot of real stories coming out of Hollywood. For every THREE BILLBOARDS or BOOK CLUB, there are dozens of CGI fantasy crap movies.
  10. drednm

    Hollywood Running Out of Ideas?

    It's not that they ran out of ideas. It's that they stopped making films for adults who care about human stories. They pander to the kiddies who live in fantasy worlds and can only relate to superheroes, monsters, cartoons, and more fantasy.
  11. Screening tonight at Pordenone Film Festival and coming to TCM in 2019
  12. drednm

    BEAUTY'S WORTH (1922) NEWS

    My Kickstarter project of MARION DAVIES in BEAUTY'S WORTH (1922) will be shown in Trivigno, Italy to commemorate film director ROBERT G. VIGNOLAS's birthday. STEPHEN HORNE and his music ensemble will provide a new, live score. The film may be shown at other venues later this summer/fall (but I can't talk about that now!). I've also signed a licensing agreement with TCM to broadcast BEAUTY'S WORTH on TCM and also make the film available on their FilmStruck streaming service. This beautiful print is from the Library of Congress' Marion Davies Collection and runs at its proper 75 minutes (other prints run really slow). It also features an organ score by BEN MODEL, who offers a DVD through his Undercrank Productions label. Ben and I may have some other news about upcoming MARION DAVIES projects in the coming months. Saluti al grande Marion Davies!
  13. drednm

    BEAUTY'S WORTH (1922) NEWS

    Tonight at the Pordenone Film Festival in Italy and coming to TCM in 2019.
  14. drednm

    And the "Tony Award" Goes To...

    I can hear it now: "There's a play-yay-yay-yay-yay-yay-ce for u-u-u-u-u-u-s
  15. drednm

    And the "Tony Award" Goes To...

    Elgort looks a lot like a young John Inman from Are You Being Served?
  16. All the TV stuff is on YT. No I've never contacted them. No my book only deals with the silent films. I am, however, working on another book....
  17. Davies did several radio shows that survive. When she and Hearst bailed from Warners he tried to set up another sweetheart deal at another studio but nothing ever materialized. After 20 years of making movies she announced her retirement. She remained a social force in Hollywood until WW II basically changed everything. After Hearst's death she produced a story idea of hers as a TV show. A pilot was shot (it survives) called Meet the Family and it starred Arthur and Patricia Lake (and their 2 kids) as themselves in a take-off of "Ozzie and Harriet." It also featured Hans Conried and Marcia Mae Jones. Patricia Van Cleve Lake is now presumed to have been Marion's daughter. The kids, Arthur Lake Jr. and Marion Lake, survive. The show is not bad at all but was not picked up by any network. Davies did not appear. She attended the wedding of JFK in 1953 and was an honored guest at his inauguration in Washington on January 20, 1961. I believe that was her last public appearance. She died from cancer September 22, 1961. Davies' last filmed appearance was in 1960 when she made a brief appearance on "Hedda Hopper's Hollywood," a TV show. This footage mostly survives. As Hopper wanders around a Beverly Hills swimming pool she talks briefly about Davies. We then see a stunningly beautiful Davies who says (with a little effort) "It's so nice to have you here. Welcome to my home." The camera then pans across a room and shows two of the lifeisize oil paintings of Davies by Federico Beltran Masses. One is of Davies as Patrick in LITTLE OLD NEW YORK; the other is of her as Fely in LIGHTS OF OLD BROADWAY. By the time this was filmed, she had had surgery on her jaw for cancer and she'd suffered a slight stroke. But at 63, she's very beautiful. Hopper had played her adopted mother in Zander the Great in 1925 and they remained close friends.
  18. Cosmopolitan was its own studio in New York City until it burned to the ground in 1923. After that Hearst rented studio space until they moved to the West Coast. Through most of the early 20s Hearst/Cosmopolitan released its films thru Paramount until 1925 (I think) when Hearst signed on with the newly merged MGM which combined stars and resources from the old Metro and Goldwyn and brought in Louis B. Mayer as a producer and executive. MGM released all of Davies' films til 1934. Hearst still rented studio space and did a lot of location shooting until MGM studio space was available. Hearst and MGM had a unique deal in that (according to the Hearst biography by David Nasaw) Hearst picked up 40% of the production costs and Davies' salary ($10,000 per week) and MGM picked up the other 60% but got mammoth publicity for ALL its films thru Hearst's media empire of newspapers and magazines. Hearst also picked up the costs of any "extras" he wanted in a Davies film. Davies was also an officer of Cosmopolitan as a film producer and pulled down a salary there too. It was a golden deal for Hearst and for MGM. Davies also reigned as one of the highest paid stars in movies at Hollywood's biggest and most prestigious studio.
  19. Hearst is hugely underrated as a movie producer. His rep as a media mogul totally overshadows his work in movies. Thru Cosmopolitan, he produced 95 films (according to IMDb) though most of his "hands on" approach was limited to Davies' films. He rarely took a screen credit for this work. Davies herself was credited with producing 16 films (and was indeed actively involved in her film projects. Cosmopolitan's other big silent star was Alma Rubens.
  20. I caught just the one error she had forwarded from Fred Lawrence Guiles' 1972 biography of Marion Davies. The serial has been housed at Library of Congress for many decades. While Guiles may not have had access to it, Basinger certainly did. It's no on DVD and stars Grace Darling and Harry Fox. Filmed in Ithaca, and it's quite good. Hearst financed it, but Davies never had anything to do with it. It was released in 1916, before Davies had made a film.
  21. Jeanine Basinger probably meant IN THE STUDIO OLD DAYS. She wrote Silent Stars in which she passed on the erroneous information that Marion Davies starred in the movie serial Beatrice Fairfax (she most certainly never appeared in a serial), and also wrote The Star Machine and another one about marriage in the movies.
  22. I already forgot who they are. Remind me again.
  23. drednm

    Memoirs of actors and actresses

    Davies rather hilariously starts out by stating "I was born in 1905." That means she was 9 years old when she appeared in her first Broadway musical and only 12 when she wrote and starred in her first movie, Runaway Romany. Davies was born in 1897. The opening almost gives the book a "Little Me" quality.
  24. drednm

    Memoirs of actors and actresses

    So OK I have to mention Marion Davies' memoir The Times We Had, which was published in 1975, 14 years after her death. The book is an edited transcription of audio tapes she made in the early 1950s. While there are some factual errors, mis-remembered bits, etc, there's also a wealth of information about people and places and movies she made. The book is also famous for a foreword written by Orson Welles in which he basically apologizes for the perceived portrayal of Davies in Citizen Kane and his recognition of her talent as a comedienne.
  25. drednm

    "Harriet Craig"/"Craig's Wife"

    Interestingly, Craig's Wife (1936) set decoration was credited to Stephen Gooson whom director Dorothy Arzner had fired. She brought in former superstar William Haines who worked with pal Rosalind Russell to create the brittle, museum-like decor that perfectly mirrored Russell's (and Arzner's) vision of Harriet Craig. Haines had also designed the sets for his own film Just a Gigolo in 1931. It's rumored that Haines also worked on pal Joan Crawford's Harriet Craig decor to update his original set design with a 1950s twist. Crawford and Haines, of course, were lifelong friends after working together in silent films at MGM. Haines loved doing set designs (he owned a world-class interior design company) but refused to work under a long-term studio contract again after his dispute with Mayer at MGM.

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