Marion Davies in Little Old New York (1923)

One of the few plus sides to be afflicted with this season’s super virus is that is allows for a lot of lounging and YouTube time. What is there to do when you can’t eat, sleep, breathe or come into contact with other humans? Watch silent movies of course! This one is a delightful trifle starring the delightful Marion Davies. Check out the YouTube playlist and enjoy!

Here’s part 1 (of 9) to get you hooked.

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About prettycleverfilmgal

Social media consultant, blogger for hire, and lover of classic movies and silent films. I often watch, consider, and write about movies when I should really be doing other things.

Posted on November 27, 2011, in Genre, Online Movies, Silent Film and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Marion Davies has long been one of my favorite actresses & by far my favorite silent female comediene. I have over a dozen of her films split about 50/50 silent & sound. “New York” is a good one but my favorite by far is “The Patsy.” I have both in my collection plus I have: “Jannice Meridith, The Beautiful Rebel, Show People, Quality Street, The Cardboard Lover, The Fair Coed, Zander the Great, When Knighthood Was In Flower, The Red Mill, & Lights of Old Broadway [all silent]

  2. Love Marion Davies in Show People – will check this one out – thank god for Youtube!

  3. You know… before today, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen Marion Davies in any film. I certainly conflate her with Susan Alexander in Citizen Kane, leaving the impression in my mind that I know what she’s about. But what a delight she is in Little Old New York! I’ll definitely have to check the other films out.

  4. I love Citizen Kane. It is an incredible work. But it destroyed the reputation for at least two generations of the wonderful Mariion Davies. Hard to believe, but the damage done to Davies’ legacy by that film far exceeds that of Joan Crawford’s by her daughter’s book. Orson Welles eventually stopped being so disingenuous about the Kane and Alexander characters and seemed genuinely contrite about the film’s impact on her — too late of course.

    Not only was Davies a talented comedienne, she was a master impersonator of her contemporaries — check out “Show People.” It’s not her best film, but it’s a good intro to Davies and to silent film in general for someone who has never seen one. She does fantastic impressions of Gloria Swanson, Lillian Gish and others of the period.

    Davies ironically was one of the best-liked/loved persons in Hollywood and known for her generosity. One of her better films, “The Red Mill” (MGM 1926) was directed by “William Goodrich” — a pseudonym for Roscoe Arbuckle — who do you think was responsible for hiring him to direct? The ultimate irony was that she bailed-out Hearst during the depression when he was nearly destroyed financially — she wrote him a check for (some say as much as) $1 million. I suppose you could be cynical and call it a debt repaid for his making her a “star.” The cold reality at the end of her life was that she lost Hearst, his “castle” and unlike her contemporaries at MGM — Norma Shearer and Garbo — she never had the luxury of spending her retirement in the warm afterglow of a reputation burnished by time. Not after Kane and Welles trashed it.

    Sorry for the rant, but the bigger issue and one that is a major part of what I try to do in writing on film, at least, is to show the reality that has been distorted or forgotten and how lies retold over time become accepted as truth — for generations to come. Marion Davies isn’t necessarily among my top, all-time favorites, but her story is. I’m just glad that in the last ten years or so, we’ve begun to see her reputation slowly restored not only to what it was pre-Kane, but to understand that her talent was almost always underappreciated.

  5. Gene, your rants are always deeply appreciated.

    And in this case, you are absolutely correct. It was until I was Marion Davies in Little Old New York and enjoying her performance so much, that I even realized the depth of my misconception of her. As I noted, I had NEVER seen Marion Davies, but I had so conflated her with the terrible, untalented, and fairly dumb Susan Alexander, I had avoided her work. Worse still, this misconception was subtle and entirely unconscious on my part. I just thought it and had never been spurred to examine why.

    I’ve got 99 problems with problems with Citizen Kane and Orson Welles. I sometimes consider writing about my specific Welles issues, but then I feel tired just thinking about it. Perhaps the greatest revenge of all is that, at least in my mind, I’ve completely conflated Orson Welles with William Randolph Hearst and both of ’em with Charles Foster Kane.

  1. Pingback: Silence was Golden in Cinema from The Telegraph « Pretty Clever Films

  2. Pingback: Happy Birthday Marion Davies « Pretty Clever Films

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