Jump to content
 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

Marion Davies article


drednm
 Share

Recommended Posts

Nice job. I love the photo you used at the top.

 

I think HEARTS DIVIDED was a remake of GLORIOUS BETSY. It's interesting that Powell, her costar from this film and PAGE MISS GLORY, was a pallbearer. Not too sure how true the story is, but I've read she fell hard for Powell, though she was devoted to Hearst.

 

I don't think her films at Warners were terrible. But I agree BOY MEETS GIRL would have been all wrong for her. Hearst was right to veto that project. 

 

And yes, she would have been fabulous in PYGMALION (though Wendy Hiller is very good). I think Marion would have brought something extra to Eliza-- sort of like how she plays a waif that becomes more sophisticated in PEG O' MY HEART.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks.... That's Davies and husband Brown at JFK's inaugural festivities.

 

I like all her films and rewatched Cain and Mabel just the other days. Fun film, but Warners was not MGM and she just never settled in.

 

By the time of her death she had been out of films for nearly 25 years. Had she lived another ten years or so she might have seen the rediscovery of Show People at least. Many others like The Patsy have only been reclaimed and re-assessed in the last 10-20 years. The discoveries keep coming.

 

Enchantment was well received last year, and I hope The Restless Sex will receive an equal reception later this summer.

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks.... That's Davies and husband Brown at JFK's inaugural festivities.

 

I like all her films and rewatched Cain and Mabel just the other days. Fun film, but Warners was not MGM and she just never settled in.

 

By the time of her death she had been out of films for nearly 25 years. Had she lived another ten years or so she might have seen the rediscovery of Show People at least. Many others like The Patsy have only been reclaimed and re-assessed in the last 10-20 years. The discoveries keep coming.

 

Enchantment was well received last year, and I hope The Restless Sex will receive an equal reception later this summer.

Maybe I am seeing things at Warners that could have worked for her, if she stayed longer and really settled in...the problem is that the way Warners told stories and the way Hearst liked putting Marion in stories did not exactly mesh. I think if Hearst had allowed her to grow as an actress more, she could have done the Gladys George role in THE ROARING TWENTIES. She would have been very good as an over-the-hill gangster's moll. She never got the chance to move into character roles, which she would have done with flair.

 

But I think PYGMALION was definitely a missed opportunity. She would have been perfect in it. And she had previously costarred with Leslie Howard in FIVE AND TEN. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hearst had a lot of control of what kinds of parts Davies would play. The only role where she played a married woman was Not So Dumb. She married in the finale of many films but didn't have to play a wife. The only film in which she played a mother was The Restless Sex in 1920, and again at the finale of the film. Even then, she stands over a crib and makes goo-goo faces but never holds the baby. They are never in the same scene together.

 

Marion existed on screen and off in a kind of netherworld. Not quite a wife. Not quite a mother. Not quite a real woman. Even as she aged and approached 40, she played roles much younger. Many actresses of the time did.

 

But she was prevented from playing the kinds of roles that could have established her as a solid actress. All those great roles played by Gladys George, Wynne Gibson, Mary Astor. I think Davies had a lot more depth than what we see in her films. We see glimpses of it in Peg o' My Heart.

 

 

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hearst had a lot of control of what kinds of parts Davies would play. The only role where she played a married woman was Not So Dumb. She married in the finale of many films but didn't have to play a wife. The only film in which she played a mother was The Restless Sex in 1920, and again at the finale of the film. Even then, she stands over a crib and makes goo-goo faces but never holds the baby. They are never in the same scene together.

 

Marion existed on screen and off in a kind of netherworld. Not quite a wife. Not quite a mother. Not quite a real woman. Even as she aged and approached 40, she played roles much younger. Many actresses of the time did.

 

But she was prevented from playing the kinds of roles that could have established her as a solid actress. All those great roles played by Gladys George, Wynne Gibson, Mary Astor. I think Davies had a lot more depth than what we see in her films. We see glimpses of it in Peg o' My Heart.

Yes, I think Hearst was obviously both a blessing and a curse in Marion's life. She probably would have had a better film career without him. And when she retired from the screen, it was almost like they had reached the point that she still has to be a star, or else no star at all (having become too old for ingenue roles). She would never be allowed to play older character parts. If so, she might have extended her film career by another ten years and earned an Oscar as a supporting actress.

 

In her private life, she was still playing roles. She was the mistress who played the role of the (west coast) wife. She was the actual mother who played the role of the childless aunt. She was the owner who had to act like a guest in her own home. There's likely more we don't know about.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It seems old pal Edmund Goulding offered Marion Davies the role of Mrs. Brown in the 1943 film Claudia but Hearst didn't want her to play a character part and especially not the mother of the leading lady (Dorothy McGuire). The role went to Ina Claire. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I remember reading a bio on Hearst about 40 years ago and it stated that the day after Hearst died the home delivery of her newspaper stopped. I guess the family was waiting to turn the screw in any way they could...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

At least one of the five sons (George) remained friends.... the others did not. They were desperate that Davies not have any say in the "family business." The wife Millicent had been a performer in the 1890s and billed with her sister as "the bicycle girls." All five sons were born before Hearst most likely met Davies.

 

After Patricia Lake's death-bed confession that she was the daughter of Davies and Hearst, her two children could have become Hearst heirs. There are conflicting stories about whether they ever legally pursued this. Apparently both Arthur Lake Jr. and Marion Lake are still alive (in their 70s).....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

At least one of the five sons (George) remained friends.... the others did not. They were desperate that Davies not have any say in the "family business." The wife Millicent had been a performer in the 1890s and billed with her sister as "the bicycle girls." All five sons were born before Hearst most likely met Davies.

 

After Patricia Lake's death-bed confession that she was the daughter of Davies and Hearst, her two children could have become Hearst heirs. There are conflicting stories about whether they ever legally pursued this. Apparently both Arthur Lake Jr. and Marion Lake are still alive (in their 70s).....

Yes, in a way this saga continues. It's all rather interesting (and slightly convoluted).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I read somewhere that the children of Arthur Jr. and Marion Lake, which would be Marion Davies' great-grandchildren, were pursuing the legal rights issue ... but of course I can't find it now.

 

The picture posted with the blog item shows Marion in 1959. I have no idea who the man is. It's not Horace G. Brown.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I read somewhere that the children of Arthur Jr. and Marion Lake, which would be Marion Davies' great-grandchildren, were pursuing the legal rights issue ... but of course I can't find it now.

 

The picture posted with the blog item shows Marion in 1959. I have no idea who the man is. It's not Horace G. Brown.

Yes, I didn't think it was her husband, as he would resemble Hearst a bit more. 

 

On another note-- do you think there's a chance that TCM will ever make Marion a Star of the Month? She did have a Summer Under the Stars tribute back in 2008. I am afraid that if she had a month long tribute, most of the host wraparounds would focus on Hearst and KANE and Marion's wealth, thereby spending less time on her considerable talents as a performer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I sold TCM my Enchantment project, I pushed for a SOTM but they had already planned the Silent Star of the Month (November 2014) with the Davies film as the kickoff. In theory, enough films exist for a SOTM tribute if they have or can get the licensing agreements. Here's the list I suggested:

 

ENCHANTMENT
THE RED MILL
THE PATSY
SHOW PEOPLE
MARIANNE
NOT SO DUMB
POLLY OF THE CIRCUS
BLONDIE OF THE FOLLIES
PEG O' MY HEART
FIVE AND TEN
GOING HOLLYWOOD
OPERATOR 13
HEARTS DIVIDED
CAIN AND MABEL
PAGING MISS GLORY
EVER SINCE EVE
THE BACHELOR FATHER
FLORODORA GIRL
DAVIES BIO
QUALITY STREET

 

That's 20 films. All of these have been shown on TCM before. There are a few more silent but they have not been restored... There's also my new project, THE RESTLESS SEX '20, which is now being scored.

 

 

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

drednm,

 

I've looked at some of your other blogs on the CFU. I particularly like Alison Skipworth so that one caught my eye. As well as the one on Johnny Mack Brown.

 

How did you develop an interest in some of these stars-- especially in Marion?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Who knows. After seeing so many of her films, I guess I champion her because she always got a bad break because of the Hearst thing. Even know, when TCM debuted Enchantment, the intro was all about Hearst. Been there, done that. There was very much more to Davies than her life with Hearst.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Who knows. After seeing so many of her films, I guess I champion her because she always got a bad break because of the Hearst thing. Even know, when TCM debuted Enchantment, the intro was all about Hearst. Been there, done that. There was very much more to Davies than her life with Hearst.

Yes, I consider her an ironic under-dog. Don't know how else to describe it, but that's what she was. One of the more misunderstood women/movie stars of all time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Red Mill is also on DVD.... Arbuckle was hired to direct the film but probably didn't do all that much work since George Hill replaced him. Arbuckle for the screen credit as William Goodrich. According to Davies, E.J. ("Eddie") Mannix also directed.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Red Mill is also on DVD.... Arbuckle was hired to direct the film but probably didn't do all that much work since George Hill replaced him. Arbuckle for the screen credit as William Goodrich. According to Davies, E.J. ("Eddie") Mannix also directed.

Well, whoever did most of the directing-- it turned out well. It's one of her best silent films in my opinion.

 

I think Arbuckle was experiencing a minor comeback of sorts when he died...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes it seems Arbuckle kept working as a director, mostly short films, and in 1932 acted in 6 short films under his real name for Warners. He was set to make a feature film for Warners when he died in 1933.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Red Mill is also on DVD.... Arbuckle was hired to direct the film but probably didn't do all that much work since George Hill replaced him. Arbuckle for the screen credit as William Goodrich. According to Davies, E.J. ("Eddie") Mannix also directed.

 

Does the DVD for THE RED MILL have any commentary or special features?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes it seems Arbuckle kept working as a director, mostly short films, and in 1932 acted in 6 short films under his real name for Warners. He was set to make a feature film for Warners when he died in 1933.

I assume Hearst thought Arbuckle's hiring was acceptable...? Or did Hearst have Arbuckle removed, thus explaining why there was more than one director on THE RED MILL?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This was an MGM film. Not sure Hearst would have had the power to remove Arbuckle. Davies mentions in her bio that no one liked the dailies so Arbuckle was replaced rather than scrap an expensive Davies film.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This was an MGM film. Not sure Hearst would have had the power to remove Arbuckle. Davies mentions in her bio that no one liked the dailies so Arbuckle was replaced rather than scrap an expensive Davies film.

Okay. That explains it. Thanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

© 2022 Turner Classic Movies Inc. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...