So I finally watched these ultra recommended silent movies from Miss Davies. And you know what? They're a blast! First, "Show People" (dir. King Vidor;1928). It's about a girl that goes to Hollywood to try to make a career as an actress...
She starts in low-budget comedies where she meets Billy, a kind actor played by William Haines. He's very supportive and a really good friend. But when she becomes a great star she forgets all this and doesn't have time for her old friends anymore. The first part of the movie had a lot of funny scenes, like the one from the animated gif above and this one:
I have to say this again: Marion is hilarious. If William R. Hearst (her lover) hadn't ruined her career by exposing her so much and not letting her making comedy, she would be more recognized today. Anyway, the movies shows cameos from Charles Chaplin, director King Vidor and Miss Davies herself. There's a really sincere intention of laughing of themselves and the star system and I appreciate that. For example, there's a screening of one of Vidor's movies and one of the characters says it's just a "punk drama". When Marion's character sees Marion the actress she is totally unimpressed. And she doesn't even recognize Chaplin when she meets him.
|"Who's this guy?"|
The second part is more dramatic because it shows Billy's attempts to meet the now-super-star, but I never lost interest in the story. It's true that these movies where made in a period of transition, therefore they are not terribly theatrical as they used to be. I didn't miss the audio and that's a great achievement in my crusade for loving silent films.
The same happened with "The Patsy" (dir. King Vidor; 1928). I laughed even more with it. Marion plays Patricia, a very down to earth girl that loves her sister's boyfriend. Her mother (Marie Dressler) is a whiny woman that doesn't give a damn about her and is always flattering her other daughter. On the other hand, his father loves her just the way she is. The film is never slow and shows tons of different situations. The family visiting a Yatch Club, Marion practicing her new "personality" in order to attract the guy she loves, Marion funnily acting as a lunatic that loves quoting without any sense just to mock her mother and sister or brilliantly impersonating silent film stars etc, etc.
|King Vidor & Marion Davies|
In conclusion, Marion Davies and King Vidor were a great team. The films I've seen from them (the ones from this post plus talkie "Not so dumb") are terrific and if you haven't seen them I don't know what are you waiting for :)