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Marion Davies Day Today


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For anyone interested. They are showcasing her all day today (must be her birthday). I'm recording a few of her films to watch later (I've only seen a few of her silents...)

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Sadly, most of these prints are from only very mediocre Safety-transfers, probably struck in the 50's or 60's. But I seem to recall BLONDIE OF THE FOLLIES, and PEG O' MY HEART both looking very good. Crisper and clearer than the others. The former is also significant as Billie Dove's final film and she is great in it. FIVE AND TEN is disappointing. Even with Leslie Howard, and Mary Duncan. By and large, Marion's Silents are allot better than her talkies. "FOLLIES" and "PEG" being exceptions.

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Sounds like I'll be speeding through Five and Ten. That was one of the movies I was recording. Did anyone watch Floradora Girl? That was another one......I think the only sound film I've seen of hers (in toto) was Going Hollywood.........

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I really enjoyed "Blondie of the Follies" today plus I recorded it. lol Marion Davies was a classic beauty with tremendous acting skills. What a talented actress. I would love to own everyone of her movies....because Marion Davies acting is "just that darn good". No doubt about it. Superb!

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Yes, today would have been Marion Davies' 115th birthday and as I watch Can & Mabel, I am taken with her beauty as well as acting! I can totally understand W.R. Hearst's passion for her! As most of us know, she was Hearst's mistress for many years - it is said that she had had a daughter, Patricia Van cleve (later became Mrs. Arthur Lake - "Dagwood") although Ms. Van cleve was said to be Ms. Davies' niece, according to Ms. Van cleve herself shortly before her death, it was discovered that she was Ms. Davies' daughter by long-time lover, W.R. Hearst.

 

 

I have yet to visit the Hollywood Forever cemetery and see Marion Davies' mausoleum; I understand that the name over the crypt door says "DOVRAS", as Douras was her actual family name. She, her daughter Pat Van cleve, and son-in-law Arthur lake are interred within, as well as several members of Marion's family.

 

 

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Yeah, it's a shame and pity that Ms. Davies was a mistress to W. R. H.. I'm sure she deserved better. How did Hollywood keep her being with his child a secret? Then again, Hollywood kept many secrets. Beyond that, I agree wholeheartly Ms. Davies was a pioneer in her acting that paved the way for Carole Lombard and Lucille Ball. I think even Sharon Stone and Jenny McCarthy amongst others studied Marion's work. As we all know...today's Hollywood is a huge "copycat" thanks to the hard work, talent and creativity of our "Golden Era Hollywood Classic Movie Stars".

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Even though I had most of these movies already on VHS tapes I had my DVD running today to catch all the Marion Davies movies. I'm always looking to improve the quality of the films I have in my collection. What a disappointment! I didn't view all these films but for the most part they were very poor, scratchy, grainy copies. I was very surprised as these were MGM and Warner Bros. films which I thought TCM already had great prints in their hands. I'm sure that the old prints I have on VHS tape are better quality then what I recorded today.

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midnight08,

 

Warner Brothers, or various archives holding the films for Warner's may have superior 35 millimeter prints of most of these films. But the broadcast masters are probably all around 30 years old. So better transfers could definitely be made. Look how crisp her Silents THE PATSY, and THE RED MILL both are. These are from much more recent broadcast masters. And probably processed from new prints struck of camera negatives found at George Eastman House in the late 90's.

 

 

So many of Marion's Silent films have never been seen on TCM. Even the biggest titles such as LITTLE OLD NEW YORK (1923), and BEVERLY OF GRAUSTARK (1926).

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I love her. In my opinion, she's the inventor of the screwball heroine. One of filmdom's best female clowns. She made it possible for Carole Lombard and Lucille Ball to do what they did.

 

I have no idea whether Ball ever met Davies (I would think it was likely), but Lombard and Davies were good friends, and Carole had long admired Marion for both her comedic skills and her generosity to those who were less fortunate.

 

However, it should be noted that other comedic actresses of the silent era influenced Lombard and her peers in the '30s. Clara Bow is probably the most remembered of the bunch, though like Jean Harlow, she tends to be known more for her sex appeal than for her comic skills (both were considerable). Colleen Moore and Constance Talmadge were big stars in the '20s; each had a number of hit comedies. Unfortunately, more than a few of the comedies made by Bow, Moore and Talmadge are now lost, giving us only an incomplete view of their accomplishments.

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VP19.

 

I'm inclined to agree that though Marion Davies has been described as the first Screw Ball Comedienne. The title more probably goes to Constance Talmadge. Herself a heavy influence on Marion's later Silent comedies. If you have seen THE LOVE EXPERT (1920) it could easily be deemed a Silent Screwball Comedy. And she made several films like this. Than you have Colleen Moore, Marie Prevost, Phyllis Haver. They could all very well be considered in that same category.

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If Patricia was Davies' daughter with Hearst, Davies would have been pregnant during the making of *Adam and Eva* and *Little Old New York.* The former film was released February 1923, the latter August 1923. She would have gotten pregnant October 1922 and given birth June 1923.

 

Assuming Lake's birth date is correct, I'm not sure this works out since there wouldn't have been much time between films and she certainly doesn't look pregnant in *Little Old New York.*

 

 

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I just love Marion Davies. Her heart shows through all her performances much like Monroe's did. Just how damaging Citizen Kane was to her reputation no one knows. I hear Orson Welles was sorry and apologized profusely to her, She really deserved better. God bless you and may you rest in peace. A new audience has discovered and loves you.

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In the foreword to Davies' The Times We Had, published after her death, Orson Welles writes that he never meant the character in *Citizen Kane* to be seen as Marion Davies and says he was "one of the most delightfully accomplished comediennes in the whole history of the screen."

 

 

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Of all her films, about half made a profit, which put her on par with Norma Shearer. But you have to remember that Hearst's bloated budget put many films into the loser category despite solid box office.

 

In the last couple years of silent films, Davies ranked among MGM's top 5 box office stars with John Gilbert, William Haines, Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, and Greta Garbo.... Not too shabby. But in a few years and with extra expenses of talkies, she lost ground pretty fast. Still most of the talkies broke even.

 

Her biggest box office hits were *When Knighthood Was in Flower* in 1922 and *Little Old New York* in 1923. Her most profitable film is said to have been *Beverly of Graustark* in 1925.

 

I find this fascinating. Here's a list of Davies' MGM films with productions costs and box office.

 

*Beverly of Graustark* 357K 756K

*Lights of Old Broadway* 321K 601K

*The Red Mill* 488K 663K

*The Fair Co-Ed* 316K 666K

*Tillie the Toiler* 475K 637K

*Quality Street* 523K 568K

*The Patsy* 245K 617K

*The Cardboard Lover* 343K 663K

*Show People* 397K 981K

*Marianne* 648K 986K

*Not So Dumb* 331K 501K

*The Florodora Girl* 593K 627K

*It's a Wise Child* 408K 491K

*Five and Ten* 594K 550K

*The Bachelor Father* 502K 706K

*Polly of the Circus* 438K 700K

*Blondie of the Follies* 611K 737K

*Peg o My Heart* 623K 979K

*Going Hollywood* 914K 962K

*Operator 13* 880K 1M

 

You can see she had a fairly steady following. Her last 3 films for MGM averaged out just a hair under a million at the box office but were expensive films to make.

 

*Marianne* was filmed twice, which is why it looks so expensive. Both the silent and talkie versions were released in the US.

 

When you add in marketing etc, about half these films lost money.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Seems like Davies almost had *too much* going for her -- talent, brains, beauty *and* Hearst's empire ?

 

Writer Anita Loos described screening dailies with W.R. and when footage of 2 actors without Davies appeared, he stopped the screening and demanded to know "Why wasn't Marion in that scene?"

 

"They're talking about a plot point Marion's character doesn't know about," Loos explained.

 

"Never mind that," W.R. decreed, and the scene was supposedly replaced with one in which Marion picked daisies.

 

By "Cain and Mabel" in 1936, Hearst couldn't afford to be so picky: during one of the over-sized musical numbers (I think it's the one with Marion in medieval headgear) a studio worker can be clearly seen crossing the set in the background -- a re-shoot having been deemed too expensive.

 

Years ago, I saw newsreel outtakes of Marion escorting George Bernard Show when he visited MGM in March of 1933 and I heard her famous stammer ! It was very apparent -- like, "I th-th-th-th-think we can go th-th-th-th-this way ...."

 

From everything I've read, Davies was generous to a fault and a total sweetheart ... I imagine "Citizen Kane" must have hurt her very deeply, especially with frequent San Simeon guest Herman Mankiewicz credited as co-writer.

 

 

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