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Very fine writing for sure. I like the tone and all the formatting and of course the rich plethora of detail. Good job!

p.s. Irving Thalberg was adopted as the basis for the protagonist in F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel, "The Last Tycoon". Unfinished, but pretty slick take on studio rivalries. The theme of the book is that of a talented man taken down by less-accomplished underlings.

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37 minutes ago, drednm said:

Thanks for the lovely article. I always enjoyed looking at those photos of the San Simeon parties.

I've yet to see the two movies that Marion Davies made with Clark Gable: "Polly of the Circus" and "Cain and Mabel". But I'm looking forward to that. I'd be curious to know what you said about them in previous articles.

Even though both of these women were backed by influential and financially strong men, I never viewed Marion Davies as being as ambitious or  professionally -driven as Norma Shearer was.

So I suppose I never really saw them as rivals.

I never felt that Shearer would have had the career on a level that she had without the influence and intervention of Thalberg. And that Landing him was part of her professional goals.

What do you think?

 

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2 hours ago, drednm said:

Thalberg's belief in Shearer's ability as an actress who could play anything faltered badly with Shearer's playing Juliet at age 34 (more than twice the age of the character)

Funny, to me that's her finest sound performance.  I normally don't care for her post-silent work.  Her acting style, which works fine in silents, seems mannered, exaggerated, and affected in sounds.  But she's one of the few Hollywood actors to play Shakespeare on film and not appear clumsy and uncomfortable in the role.

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10 minutes ago, slaytonf said:

Funny, to me that's her finest sound performance.  I normally don't care for her post-silent work.  Her acting style, which works fine in silents, seems mannered, exaggerated, and affected in sounds.  But she's one of the few Hollywood actors to play Shakespeare on film and not appear clumsy and uncomfortable in the role.

I agree with you completely about her stilted acting for the most part. So I'm no fan of Shearer at all, but I enjoyed her performance in " Romeo and Juliet ".

My library has sales of used items and I bought "Marie Antoinette" for $1. I was most impressed with Norma Shearer's performance at the end of the film as the queen is preparing to be guillotined. She acquitted herself well in this film. I particularly liked her scenes with Tyrone Power.

 However, she is always going to be one of those decade movie stars that people will just forget completely in the future. You know the ones they say are so dated that you can't  watch most of their material  anymore without losing interest. But they will never completely be able to forget her because of her association with the Boy Genius, Irving Thalberg.

 

 

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Looking at this photo which was probably taken in the mid 1920's I noticed that not only does Marion look like Joan Crawford did in the late 1920's but she looks much older than she did in the 1930's. Does anyone know if she had plastic surgery?  If the photo wouldn't have had Marion's name I never would have recognized her.

Marion Davies and Valentino.jpg

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