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THE TRIAL OF MARY DUGAN (1929)


Guest dredagain

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Finally got to see this early MGM talkie.

 

After a ponderous start and despite the stable camera (we get long and medium shots and close-ups) and directed by the unknown Bayard Veiller (who also wrote the Broadway play), the story really takes off after about 15-20 minutes.

 

Norma Shearer in her starring talkie debut is good in the talkie parts but overacts badly in the reaction shots. But a fascinating pre-Code look at the trial of a "bad" girl. Once the trial gets going and the story gets more complicated it's quite fascinating. Lewis Stone, H.B. Warner, Raymond Hackett, Lilyan Tashman co-star. Olive Tell, Myra Hampton, and Adrienne D'Ambricourt (as the maid) are also quite good.

 

Although stagy by modern standards and a little hammy, for a 1929 talkie it's quite engrossing. I notice that the actors have to place themselves in odd positions to fit into the camera shots. For example, during interrogation scenes, the opposing lawyer comes and stands behind the questioning lawyer. And as with most early talkies the editing is bad, with many shots held long after the dialog has stopped.

 

Another stagy tactic is that when the witnesses talk, they turn toward "the jury" which is the camera (and us).

 

A very impressive talkie debut for Shearer.

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Hi.... The film has a TCM imprint but the collector is in UK, so maybe it's a copyright thing that allows it to be shown abroad?

 

I've had TCM since Day 1 and this film has not been shown in the states....

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I have the TCM (USA) schedules going back to day one (4-14-94) and "The Trial of Mary Dugan" (1929 version) was scheduled for April 20, 1994. But as we well know, sometimes movies are scheduled but then not shown. I didn't have TCM yet at that time, so I guess I have to assume that the movie really was shown. The 1941 remake was also scheduled a few times during TCM's first year, but again, I cannot confirm whether or not it really was shown.

 

Let's hope the reasons these movies have not been on in so many years can finally be cleared up soon and we can get to see them on TCM.

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That's why I think mine is from a British TV showing on TCM.... If TCM hasn't shown the film since 1994, I wonder if they ran the imprint way back then.....

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I suspect mine came from a satellite broadcast on a channel that most of us don't get. I got it as a gift from a friend of mine several years ago and I don't think he knew the source either.

 

My excellent copy of The Constant Nymph is the same way. No logo bugs. Someone put scenes from it on YouTube but the quality is a lot worse than my print so I don't think it's the same source.

 

My copy of Letty Lynton is mediocre but it doesn't have station bugs either, so I don't know where the source was there either.

 

Maybe some of these came from AMC back in the day but I was watching that station back when it first came on and I remember station bugs were always on their prints, even in the early days. However I can believe that sometimes they may have forgotten to turn on the switch that puts the bugs on them. I remember sending a friend a copy on DVD-R of The Broadway Melody (before it was out on official DVD) when TCM first premiered it. He emailed me, "Did you realize TCM forgot to put on the station bug? There are no bugs at all in this copy!" I hadn't even noticed.

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Interesting. Most likely TCM has always run the logo but who knows. Nowadays the TCM runs about as often as the "AB" or other imprint on Griffith's old films..... LOL

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haha! yeah. :)

 

Then I've noticed them putting on not just the animated logo bug, which is bad enough, the one that extends out and goes back in (extremely annoying!), but in addition they are doing a script one saying 15th Anniversary TCM.

 

What's next? Coming attraction "bugs"? "Next on TCM .... Sabrina!"

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more and more like AMC..... I wonder why they feel they have to have the logo thing there? It doesn't prevent anyone from taping the film. Corporate branding has its place but the constant logo makes little sense....

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Ive requested this thing many times with no luck. I think there is a legal issue with the rights, maybe with Bayard Veillers' estate over the rights to original play. Does anyone know if they have shown the Joan Crawford film "Paid"? This is also based on a Veiller play and is rumored to be tied up in legal issues.

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> {quote:title=SRHall wrote:}{quote}

> Ive requested this thing many times with no luck. I think there is a legal issue with the rights, maybe with Bayard Veillers' estate over the rights to original play. Does anyone know if they have shown the Joan Crawford film "Paid"? This is also based on a Veiller play and is rumored to be tied up in legal issues.

TCM has shown PAID in the past. I recorded it several years ago. I have not seen it listed in recent memory.

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Yes *Paid* has been shown several times. If there is a legal issue, it makes more sense this version was shown on British TV, assuming it was taped ten years ago.

 

Ann Harding was the original Broadway star of *The Trial of Mary Dugan.*

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