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drednm

MARION DAVIES for STAR OF THE MONTH

113 posts in this topic

1 hour ago, TopBilled said:

Do you apply this logic to Norma Shearer, too? And say that without Irving Thalberg, we wouldn't be talking about her either?

I think these women were very talented and very resourceful. And they would have been movie stars no matter what. It was their destiny.

My point is that if Colleen Moore had been the Hearst paramour, this conversation would be about her, not Davies. 

Davies would then be mostly ignored in the annals of film history as a minor comedienne. It is her connection to Hearst which makes her a topic of consideration.

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3 minutes ago, GordonCole said:

My point is that if Colleen Moore had been the Hearst paramour, this conversation would be about her, not Davies. 

Davies would then be mostly ignored in the annals of film history as a minor comedienne. It is her connection to Hearst which makes her a topic of consideration.

You're assuming she wouldn't have met another producer who helped get her films made. In fact she became a producer herself, so she was quite capable of doing things on her own. I agree that her connection to Hearst gives her a unique place in history that is denied other actresses of her generation. But I still think she delivered the goods, and she would have probably still done so without Hearst. Her films would certainly have been different without Hearst, but she still would have been a star.

In fact it could be argued that her screen career was hindered by Hearst because he would only allow her to make certain kinds of films, thereby restricting any chance of her playing against type or experimenting with riskier material. Also he prevented her from taking supporting roles in "A" films that were hits, because he demanded she always get star billing. That prevented her from evolving into a character actress, which I am sure she could have done quite easily given her gift for comedy and mimicry.

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It's a pointless "argument" and could be applied to just about any star you can name. Davies was. Hearst was. Get over it. Or, to put it more succinctly:

But ya ARE, Blanche! You ARE in that chair!

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18 hours ago, TopBilled said:

You're assuming she wouldn't have met another producer who helped get her films made. In fact she became a producer herself, so she was quite capable of doing things on her own. I agree that her connection to Hearst gives her a unique place in history that is denied other actresses of her generation. But I still think she delivered the goods, and she would have probably still done so without Hearst. Her films would certainly have been different without Hearst, but she still would have been a star.

In fact it could be argued that her screen career was hindered by Hearst because he would only allow her to make certain kinds of films, thereby restricting any chance of her playing against type or experimenting with riskier material. Also he prevented her from taking supporting roles in "A" films that were hits, because he demanded she always get star billing. That prevented her from evolving into a character actress, which I am sure she could have done quite easily given her gift for comedy and mimicry.

Yes. Similar to Selznick and Jennifer Jones' career........

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Thalberg and Shearer

Stiller and Garbo

von Sternberg and Dietrich

Cruze and Compson

Collins and Dana

Ponti and Loren

Hepworth and Taylor

Wilcox and Neagle

Griffith and Pickford

Griffith and Gish

 

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12 minutes ago, drednm said:

Thalberg and Shearer

Stiller and Garbo

von Sternberg and Dietrich

Cruze and Compson

Collins and Dana

Ponti and Loren

Hepworth and Taylor

Wilcox and Neagle

Griffith and Pickford

Griffith and Gish

Don't forget Herbert Yates and Vera Ralston. And I'm sure there were gay men in power at the studios who put their male lovers in movies.

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2 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

Don't forget Herbert Yates and Vera Ralston. And I'm sure there were gay men in power at the studios who puts their male lovers in movies.

It was pretty common. There's also Schenck and Talmadge and Ingram and Terry.... It's a long list. Davies and Hearst didn't invent the "power couple."

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Just now, drednm said:

It was pretty common. There's also Schenck and Talmadge and Ingram and Terry.... It's a long list. Davies and Hearst didn't invent the "power couple."

Even if they had been the first 'power couple' it doesn't take away from the fact she was a talented actress and worked hard for her success.

If anything, I am sure she had to work harder because of the naysayers who said she was only in movies because of Hearst.

Plus she was certainly not a flash in the pan. Her movie career lasted two full decades. She never had a year between 1917 and 1937 (21 consecutive years) where she wasn't in a movie, and we know during one of those years she had a baby. Compare that to other women who would take one or two years off each time they had a child, or women who didn't last because their studio contracts weren't renewed. She was very productive.

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MARION DAVIES and GARY COOPER in OPERATOR 13. Davies' final film for MGM was a big hit. Co-starred Jean Parker, Katharine Alexander, Ted Healy, Hattie McDaniel and The Mills Brothers. Won an Oscar nom for cinematography.

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14 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

Even if they had been the first 'power couple' it doesn't take away from the fact she was a talented actress and worked hard for her success.

If anything, I am sure she had to work harder because of the naysayers who said she was only in movies because of Hearst.

Plus she was certainly not a flash in the pan. Her movie career lasted two full decades. She never had a year between 1917 and 1937 (21 consecutive years) where she wasn't in a movie, and we know during one of those years she had a baby. Compare that to other women who would take one or two years off each time they had a child, or women who didn't last because their studio contracts weren't renewed. She was very productive.

Davies starred in 30 silent films and 17 talkies. Aside from the all-star Hollywood Revue of 1929, she was the star of every film she appeared in. Davies was never an extra, a bit player, a featured players, a co-star, or a leading lady to a male star. She was the center and protagonist of all her films. And yes she received billing over Cooper and Bing Crosby, Robert Montgomery, Clark Gable, William Haines, Leslie Howard, Dick Powell, Conrad Nagel, Pat O'Brien, and every other male star she worked with. No female star of the era could match that. Not Shearer, not Swanson, and not even Garbo.

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April of 1924. MARION DAVIES and RUDOLPH VALENTINO are named by theater owners Queen and King of the Screen for 1922/23 as the #1 female and male box office stars. Davies had massive hits with WHEN KNIGHTHOOD WAS IN FLOWER and LITTLE OLD NEW YORK and also had the hits THE BRIDE'S PLAY, BEAUTY'S WORTH, and ADAM AND EVA in theaters

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MARION DAVIES plays a character based on Barbara Hutton, the Woolworths heiress, and stars with LESLIE HOWARD, whom she personally selected after she saw him on Broadway.

When Hutton married Cary Grant, they were know around town as "Cash and Cary."

 

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1 hour ago, drednm said:

MARION DAVIES plays a character based on Barbara Hutton, the Woolworths heiress, and stars with LESLIE HOWARD, whom she personally selected after she saw him on Broadway.

When Hutton married Cary Grant, they were know around town as "Cash and Cary."

 

81-HMBt-Wl-Ol-L-SX355.jpg

I have to say this is my least favorite talkie of hers. I think there are some incredibly dull stretches. The stuff with her family is fine. Douglass Montgomery is quite good as her brother, and so is Richard Bennett as the father. But I don't think Marion and Leslie Howard had much chemistry, so when we get to just the relationship between them, it sort of drags. Plus if I remember correctly, there isn't much background music, so there are long sections of dialogue without anything behind it. Of course MGM's production values are excellent as always, and Marion gives a decent performance, but it's still a slow and rather lifeless film.

In my opinion, she worked best with American actors, and for some reason it's always better when her love interest is dark-haired, not blond.

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26 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

I have to say this is my least favorite talkie of hers. I think there are some incredibly dull stretches. The stuff with her family is fine. Douglass Montgomery is quite good as her brother, and so is Richard Bennett as the father. But I don't think Marion and Leslie Howard had much chemistry, so when we get to just the relationship between them, it sort of drags. Plus if I remember correctly, there isn't much background music, so there are long sections of dialogue without anything behind it. Of course MGM's production values are excellent as always, and Marion gives a decent performance, but it's still a slow and rather lifeless film.

In my opinion, she worked best with American actors, and for some reason it's always better when her love interest is dark-haired, not blond.

Interesting. I think it's one of her best dramatic performances. To each his own!

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Just now, drednm said:

Interesting. I think it's one of her best dramatic performances. To each his own!

Yes, I think she's excellent in it. But I feel she's let down by Howard as the love interest. Maybe I was just expecting something else and was in the wrong frame of mind when I watched it.

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MARION DAVIES had a shot at an Oscar nomination in an early write-in campaign for PEG O' MY HEART, but the Academy had only three acting nominees in each category that year. They didn't go back to 5 nominees until the 1936 awards for the 1935 film year.

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On 11/22/2018 at 12:03 PM, TopBilled said:

Though KANE can be seen as a form of artistic slander/libel against Davies, it ironically provides an ongoing recognition for her. It can be a gateway for people to discover her films.

I'm late to this, and I have nothing to take away from the argument for Marion Davies as SOTM. I just want to add that the plot points and characterizations in CITIZEN KANE include various points of innuendo and urban legends that are not originally associated with Hearst or MD. For example, Susan Alexander as an opera diva is attributable to Samuel Insull and somewhat younger wife, Gladys Wallis. Hearst's outrage about CK and attempts to submarine the film rebounded against him and his reputation, and it may be assumed, against MD's, too.

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12 minutes ago, Brrrcold said:

I'm late to this, and I have nothing to take away from the argument for Marion Davies as SOTM. I just want to add that the plot points and characterizations in CITIZEN KANE include various points of innuendo and urban legends that are not originally associated with Hearst or MD. For example, Susan Alexander as an opera diva is attributable to Samuel Insull and somewhat younger wife, Gladys Wallis. Hearst's outrage about CK and attempts to submarine the film rebounded against him and his reputation, and it may be assumed, against MD's, too.

But certain things did refer to Davies, and it outraged Hearst. Probably screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz knew things about their relationship that Welles did not. I think Welles was more interested in exposing the corruption of power, generally speaking...but Mankiewicz was interested in attacking Hearst.

Davies was caught in the crossfire.

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3 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

But certain things did refer to Davies, and it outraged Hearst. Probably screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz knew things about their relationship that Welles did not. I think Welles was more interested in exposing the corruption of power, generally speaking...but Mankiewicz was interested in attacking Hearst.

I don't dispute any of that. My more general point is that although we may assume Kane was Hearst, there is not much of Marion Davies in 'Susan Alexander', and we should not footnote her in that way. Davies was a talented actress and comedian, and apparently maintained many close friendships that had nothing to do with her proximity to Hearst.

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