Marie Antoinette
Silent Room
by silentroom49
1y ago
Davies and Shearer on the top of the heap When Stefan Zweig published his book about Marie Antoinette in 1932, it set in motion the workings of a divisive showdown that would rock Hollywood. The book, originally published in Vienna, was translated and published in New York City by Viking Press in 1933. The movie rights to the book were snapped up by Irving Thalberg of MGM as a star vehicle for his wife Norma Shearer. As with The Barretts of Wimpole Street, William Randolph Hearst also eyed this book as a project for Marion Davies. And while Thalberg and Shearer were busy with the story of Eliz ..read more
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The Valley of the Giants (1919)
Silent Room
by silentroom49
2y ago
Watching The Valley of the Giants, the famous and elusive 1919 film starring Wallace Reid, is like a roller coaster ride. Wallace Reid scenes There’s that backstory. Before filming even began, Reid, his leading lady (Grace Darmond), and about a dozen crew members were injured on a train headed toward the shooting site in Korbel, California. The rail line was a narrow-gauge logging line with a caboose attached at the rear. According to E.J. Fleming in his excellent 2007 biography of Reid, on March 2, 1919, the train was “slowly crossing the shaky trestle over Noisy Creek” when the caboose tippe ..read more
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Last Star Standing
Silent Room
by silentroom49
2y ago
Montgomery and Davies in Ever Since Eve One of the ironies of Marion Davies’ film career is that in 1941 when Citizen Kane opened, it pretty much obliterated her reputation as an actress and relegated her to the footnotes of movie history (a fact that has been slowly reversing over the last 20 years or so). Yet when Davies retired from films in 1937 after the release of Ever Since Eve, she had amassed something like 48 feature films, with starring roles in 47 of them (The Hollywood Revue of 1929 was an all-star revue). But here’s something, most people wouldn’t be aware of: she was also the la ..read more
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The Belle of New York (1919)
Silent Room
by silentroom49
2y ago
The Belle of New York was Marion Davies’ fourth film and was first of four films she released in 1919. She was 22 years old. Belle was based on an old chestnut of a Broadway musical that starred Edna May in 1897 and was produced for the stage by Davies’ brother-in-law George Lederer. The film’s plot involves a showgirl who meets rich playboy with a drinking problem. The showgirl tires of the whirl of bright lights and booze and joins the Salvation Army to escape. Later, when the playboy is endangered by a gang of thugs, she come to his rescue. Only two reels of film survive. There are fragment ..read more
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The State of Marion Davies
Silent Room
by silentroom49
2y ago
Only about ten years, it was nearly impossible to assess the silent films of Marion Davies because only a few were readily available. With the recent release of Zander the Great on DVD and Blu-ray and the imminent Blu-ray release of Beverly of Graustark by Ben Model’s Undercrank Productions, we’re closing in on having all of Marion Davies’ surviving silent films available on disk. Marion Davies, Zander the Great Of the 30 silent films Davies starred in between 1917 and 1929, 6 are presumed to be totally lost: Runaway Romany, Cecilia of the Pink Roses, The Burden of Proof, The Dark Star, The Ci ..read more
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Silent Films Meet History
Silent Room
by silentroom49
2y ago
Every so often a scene of a city or a building in a silent film shows us what things looked like 100 or so years ago. That’s what happened in one of my recent Kickstarter projects. The film Straight Is the Way takes place in Hampton Center, New Hampshire, but was filmed in Sands Point on Long Island in 1921. I found blurbs in the trade papers that said it was filmed at the summer home of Ethel Watts Mumford, who had written the story the film was based on. The big old house in the film is central to the plot. In January of this year I received an email from a man in New Jersey (I’ll call him D ..read more
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Notes on The Apple Tree Girl (1917)
Silent Room
by silentroom49
2y ago
The Apple Tree Girl (1917) stars Shirley Mason. Mason was the sister of Viola Dana and Edna Flugrath. And while Dana is the best remembered of the sisters, Mason had a solid career in silent films, debuting as a child in 1910 and making a couple dozen films as a child actress. In 1917 (at age 16) Mason was signed for McClure Publishing’s series of features, The Seven Deadly Sins. Mason starred in each of the “sin” movies as well as films for several other studios. She also married actor/director Bernard Durning. The Apple Tree Girl is one of 17 films she starred in that year! The film was di ..read more
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The Marion Davies Bungalow
Silent Room
by silentroom49
2y ago
The story of the famous Marion Davis bungalow, which sat on the MGM lot for a decade, is more complex than most people know. The bungalow with its iconic turret Although many sources state that Louis B. Mayer built the bungalow for Davies when she joined the new MGM conglomerate in 1925, this is totally false. Indeed, what Mayer presented to Davies when she arrived on the MGM lot was not a bungalow but a “make-up box.” Davies was originally housed in the same building with all of MGM’s major stars. While the men were downstairs, the women were upstairs. Davies joined other MGM divas like Gret ..read more
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Matt Moore
Silent Room
by silentroom49
2y ago
Matt Moore is probably best remembered now as one of the Irish clan of acting siblings (with Owen, Tom, Mary, and Joe) who all had long film careers. Matt Moore’s film career started in 1912 and went on thru 1958 and counted more than 220 acting credits. Born in Ireland in 1888, he followed older brothers Owen and Tom into films, making his debut in a 1912 Florence Lawrence film called Tangled Relations. Moore made dozens and dozens of short films in the early teens, and his oldest surviving feature film (and likely his first) is 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, a special effects adventure made ..read more
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Horace G. Brown
Silent Room
by silentroom49
2y ago
Horace G. Brown When William Randolph Hearst died in Beverly Hills on August 14, 1951 at the age of 88, his longtime companion, Marion Davies, was asleep. When she woke up, Hearst’s body was gone along with nearly 35 years of her life. Davies shocked friends and family when she upped and married Horace G. Brown on October 31, 1951 in Las Vegas. While they remained married until her death on September 22, 1961, many of her fans even today wonder who Brown was. Horace G. Brown was born in Richmond, VA, on November 25, 1904. He married and in the mid-1930s moved his family to California. Brown fo ..read more
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