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drednm

Marion Davies, same old misinformation

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Here's the back cover for a DVD of ENCHANTMENT (1921) that perpetuates the same wrong information about the star and the movie. This is an old Kickstarter project of mine that has aired on TCM a couple times. I have nothing to do with this DVD release and it does not use the music score commissioned for my project.

"Bed-hopping" aside, they get the basic plot right, but the info about MARION DAVIES contains wrong information. From all accounts, Davies was not raised in poverty in Brooklyn or anywhere else. Davies was NEVER a Ziegfeld Girl. She was a featured player in Ziegfeld's 1916 Follies. The term "Ziegfeld Girl" usually refers to show girls and chorus dancers.

Davies was NOT discovered by a producer for her first film. Davies wrote the scenario for her first film, RUNAWAY ROMANY, and it was produced and directed by her brother-in-law, George Lederer (a noted producer/director of movies and stage shows).

Davies was NOT in the serial BEATRICE FAIRFAX, which was released in 1916, not 1918. Davies never appeared in a serial. Davies would hardly have "gained a reputation as a comedienne" for this serial or her two 1918 films, THE BURDEN OF PROOF and CECILIA OF THE PINK ROSES since they were not comedies.

Hearst's Cosmopolitan Pictures company and studio also produced films for stars like ALMA RUBENS. Davies appeared in only FOUR films that could be considered "elaborate costume dramas": WHEN KNIGHTHOOD WAS IN FLOWER, YOLANDA, JANICE MEREDITH, and the comedy/drama QUALITY STREET.

The comment that Davies "divided her time between extravagant dramas she felt unsuited for and hosting parties" is as inaccurate as it is dismissive of Davies' substantial career in silent films. WHEN KNIGHTHOOD WAS IN FLOWER and LITTLE OLD NEW YORK were among the biggest hit films of 1922 and 1923, respectively, years that saw Davies as the #1 female box office star in the country. SHOW PEOPLE and THE PATSY rank among the best silent comedies, and Davies' versatility was showcased in films like BEVERLY OF GRAUSTARK, TILLIE THE TOILER, THE RED MILL, THE CARDBOARD LOVER, ZANDER THE GREAT, LIGHTS OF OLD BROADWAY, as well as earlier films like ENCHANTMENT, THE RESTLESS SEX, and THE BRIDE'S PLAY.

MARION DAVIES was a major talent of the silent era (and well into the talkies). Her films showcase her talents in comedies, costume epics, and romantic dramas that also allowed her to indulge in a variety of impersonations, masquerades, and cross-dressing roles.

 

 

 

BACK DVD.jpg

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Well, all that sort of "misinformation" and/or "urban legend" comes with the territory.  Like the long held belief that GROUCHO MARX never bothered with a script, but just ad-libbed his way through all those Marx Brothers films.  Or that STAN LAUREL and OLIVER HARDY, who did have a years long close friendship, actually hated each other's guts.

Neither is true, and there are several other examples, but that's the way it goes in "Tinsel Town".  ;)  

Sepiatone

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True. But you'd expect ... at least I would ... that they'd try a little harder on a product they're selling. Putting it in print just perpetuates the inaccuracies.

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It's Alpha Home Entertainment. What else do you expect? :)

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10 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

It's Alpha Home Entertainment. What else do you expect? :)

 

I always expect more....

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Thank God for a place like this where folks who are curious about truth and preservation can come to discuss both as well as the misinformation studios, actors, and subsequent authors/reporters put out about things.  The Internet is good for misinformation, but your points, here, prove it is also good as a tool for articulating facts. 

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3 minutes ago, drednm said:

I always expect more....

Well I do too. But people aren't going to remember a write-up on the back of the DVD as much as they'll remember the film itself. So the important thing to keep in mind is how the film's now gaining exposure and finding a new audience.

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2 hours ago, TopBilled said:

Well I do too. But people aren't going to remember a write-up on the back of the DVD as much as they'll remember the film itself. So the important thing to keep in mind is how the film's now gaining exposure and finding a new audience.

To a degree, I agree with you. So far as I know, Grapevine is still planning a blu-ray release of this with the original music I commissioned. So far as I know....

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5 hours ago, drednm said:

True. But you'd expect ... at least I would ... that they'd try a little harder on a product they're selling. Putting it in print just perpetuates the inaccuracies.

Putting it in print, is quite different as you say, than legends spread about in fan magazines. Would you say this is due to just a general lack of care about details and a basic stupidity level of many business enterprises that we are surrounded by today? Details count and an occasional mistake may occur but the kind of things you are correcting in your post about their packaging, is just criminal and I'd like to perform a citizen's arrest. It's sad that you are the knowledgeable one yet they have hired idiots to work for them and perpetuate such errors, with no countermanding on the owner's part.

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The people who write these blurbs for Alpha have probably never watched the films they write about.

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1 hour ago, drednm said:

The people who write these blurbs for Alpha have probably never watched the films they write about.

Why not try to contact them directly, so when they reissue the film (which they will) the information can be corrected..?

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This sort of misinformation drives me nuts. As a historian in a very narrow field, I see misinformation published all the time, as if one person speculates and others publish the "possibility" as factual. Or in this case, just sloppy wording ie the Ziegfeld featured star vs chorus line.

Even when writing a historically correct piece for publication, I've had articles so heavily "edited" that some facts are changed or become ambiguous. And when public speaking, I can't tell you how many people try to prove their knowledge by parroting ridiculous "facts" they've obviously read on the internet.
It actually becomes dangerous when these "facts" are repeated by those trying to sell their product. Buyers think they're informed, but are just being fleeced.

I just finished watching GOING HOLLYWOOD with Davies who is delightful & so obviously talented. The worst rumor that perpetuates is that she had no talent and was only given parts due to her relationship with Hearst. BAH!

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9 minutes ago, TikiSoo said:

This sort of misinformation drives me nuts. As a historian in a very narrow field, I see misinformation published all the time, as if one person speculates and others publish the "possibility" as factual. Or in this case, just sloppy wording ie the Ziegfeld featured star vs chorus line.

Even when writing a historically correct piece for publication, I've had articles so heavily "edited" that some facts are changed or become ambiguous. And when public speaking, I can't tell you how many people try to prove their knowledge by parroting ridiculous "facts" they've obviously read on the internet.
It actually becomes dangerous when these "facts" are repeated by those trying to sell their product. Buyers think they're informed, but are just being fleeced.

I just finished watching GOING HOLLYWOOD with Davies who is delightful & so obviously talented. The worst rumor that perpetuates is that she had no talent and was only given parts due to her relationship with Hearst. BAH!

 You got THAT right! If anything, the massive Hearst machine behind Davies probably hurt her more than it helped. Yet Davies remained a popular star (in Hollywood and with audiences) from the late teens on. In her nearly four dozen films over a 20-year period, she starred in comedies, costume epics, romantic dramas, and musicals.

Davies was the #1 female box office star in 1922-23 (Rudolph Valentino was the male winner) and was so voted by the theater owners. Yet the old rumor that her films were flops is patently wrong. The vast majority of Davies' films made money and were popular at the box office.

Even the urban legend that her four films for Warners at the end of her career were bombs is not true. Both Page Miss Glory and Cain and Mabel were hits.

Anyway, I have no idea who wrote the blurb and yes I have contacted someone at Alpha. They slapped on a generic music track for this release of Enchantment and slapped on a blurb to match. And no, they will not update the blurb.

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Marion was creatively stifled by WR Hearst not wanting her to do what he always called "Baggy Pants Comedy" vs. what he thought were more esteemed costume dramas

 

In the end apparently she did not want her final resting place to be anywhere ne4ar him, he went in 1951 at 88 & her in '61 only at age 64. She chose HOLLYWOOD FOREVER, PARK  I forget where he goose though right near, certainly nowhere near there   (P.S. a couple movies to check out on these 2 & just plain love of classic Hollywood-0(something we'll never see again)  THE CAT'S MEOW & THE HBO TV MOVIE  RKO-281

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6 hours ago, spence said:

Marion was creatively stifled by WR Hearst not wanting her to do what he always called "Baggy Pants Comedy" vs. what he thought were more esteemed costume dramas

 

In the end apparently she did not want her final resting place to be anywhere ne4ar him, he went in 1951 at 88 & her in '61 only at age 64. She chose HOLLYWOOD FOREVER, PARK  I forget where he goose though right near, certainly nowhere near there   (P.S. a couple movies to check out on these 2 & just plain love of classic Hollywood-0(something we'll never see again)  THE CAT'S MEOW & THE HBO TV MOVIE  RKO-281

Yes, Hearst was usually dismissive of Davies' comedies. He did not want her to make SHOW PEOPLE but King Vidor and MGM convinced him. Hearst also gave in for Davies to make the funny THE FAIR CO-ED, a modern-day college story directed by Sam Wood. Hearst dismissed Wood as a "B" director and referred to the film as "that cheap-looking comedy." To be fair, Hearst (and even D.W. Grifith) had rather Victorian tastes in all thing artistic. Hearst was born in 1863 (Griffith in 1875) so that helps explain Hearst's old-fashioned romantic vision. Was it at odds with his ruthless business persona? Yup. He was a fascinating bundle of contradictions and he's never really gotten his due as a film producer.

I don't imagine Davies ever considered burial with Hearst. They had one of the most complex relationships in Hollywood history on every level, yet there were boundaries. Davies' family mausoleum accommodates 12, so it seems she never planned on joining Hearst.

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