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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Marion Davies SHOW PEOPLE Little Old New York MAE MURRAY Mademoiselle Midnight

Marion Davies & William Haines SHOW PEOPLE (1928)

Silent film directed by King Vidor. The movie was a starring vehicle for actress Marion Davies and actor William Haines and included notable cameo appearances by many of the film personalities of the day, including stars Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, William S. Hart and John Gilbert, and writer Elinor Glyn. Vidor also appears in a cameo as himself, as does Davies (to a decidedly unimpressed reaction by herself in character as Peggy Pepper). The film is a lighthearted look at Hollywood at the end of the silent film era (it was released the year after breakthrough talking picture The Jazz Singer), and is considered Davies' best role. The film was re-released in the 1980s, with a new orchestral score by Carl Davis.

In 2003, Show People was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". 1hr 19min

DVD #2 ~ Marion Davies & Mae Murray

Marion Davies in Little Old New York (1921)

This charming and expensively made historical romance was one of Marion Davies' best films. She spends much of the picture disguised as a boy, something she also did effectively in several other films. A young Irish lad, Patrick O'Day (Stephen Carr), inherits a fortune, providing he travels to New York to claim it within a certain period of time. His father, John (J.M. Kerrigan), manages to scrape together the money to send himself, his son, and daughter, Patricia (Davies), across the Atlantic. But the boy is sick and dies en route to New York. In order to get the money, John convinces Patricia to disguise herself as her brother. They arrive just in time to claim the inheritance, which frustrates cousin Larry Delevan (Harrison Ford), who would have received it had Pat not shown up. Although Delevan is not thrilled with his cousin's arrival, they become fast friends anyhow, and he never suspects that Pat is really a girl. Delevan wants to invest in Robert Fulton's steamship, the Clermont, and Pat loans him the money. But Delevan then wagers on a fight between Bully Boy Brewster (Harry Watson) and the Hoboken Terror (Louis Wolheim). The match is an uneven one and it looks like Delevan will lose all his money, so Pat rings a false alarm to break up the fight. When her deed is discovered, the mob drags her out to be whipped. She takes it for a few lashes before revealing that she's really a girl. Delevan falls in love with her and they marry.

Contrary to popular belief, many of Marion Davies' films made money, and Little Old New York was one of them. ~ Janiss Garza, All Movie Guide 1hr 45min

Mae Murray in Mademoiselle Midnight (1924)

Mademoiselle Midnight is a 1924 film starring Mae Murray and directed by the star's then husband, Robert Z. Leonard. The film was written by Carl Harbaugh and John Russell. It was the first release of MGM after the amalgamation, having been produced by Metro under the Tiffany Productions banner, owned by the couple.

"This melodrama was the first collaborative effort between MGM and the husband-wife/director-actress team Robert Z. Leonard and Mae Murray. Murray has two roles, in the prologue as Renee de Gontran, who scandalized the court of Napoleon III and who was banished to Mexico by the Empress Eugenie (Clarissa Selwynne), and throughout the rest of the film as her granddaughter, Renee de Quiros, who has inherited her grandmother's zest for adventure. This quirk, however, only shows itself between the hours of midnight and one in the morning. Young Renee's father, Don Pedro de Quiros (Robert Edeson), is a loyalist who is being courted by diplomat Owen Burke (Monte Blue). Not only does Renee draw the attention of Burke, but also that of the bandit Joao (Robert McKim). Renee's uncle, Don Jose de Quiros (Nick De Ruiz), is in league with the bandit. After Joao kills Don Pedro, Don Jose promises him Renee's hand. Burke's life is in danger, so Renee consents to the wedding, but escapes with the help of her cousin Carlos (Johnny Arthur). When she marries Burke, she is released from the spell of her grandmother. Murray and Leonard's marriage didn't last, but they both stayed with MGM -- Murray until after her marriage to Russian Prince David M'Divani, and Leonard until 1955." ~ Janiss Garza, All Movie Guide 1hr 7min

Original music score by Brian Pinette

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