Friday, March 24, 2017

Happy Birthday Joan Crawford!

Joan Crawford photographed by George Hurrell.
Well, her birthday was yesterday. Better late than never! Joan Crawford was one of the most talented, glamorous, and complicated actresses. And a personal favorite of mine!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Maureen O'Sullivan: An Irish Beauty.

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I thought that I could could talk about an over-looked lady who hails from Ireland. Maureen O'Sullivan is Mia Farrows mother, but she's much more then that. Maureen O'Sullivan was born on May 17th, 1911 in Boyle, County Roscommon, Ireland. She signed a contract with MGM in 1932 and it was Irving Thalberg (who seemed to want to plan a big career for her, but after he died in 1936 that died with him) who choose her to play Jane in Tarzan the Ape Man (1932). She played Jane in five more Tarzan films until in 1942 when O'Sullivan asked MGM to release her from her contract. This was so she could care for her husband (director John Farrow), who had just left the Navy with typhoid.

O'Sullivan usually played sweet ingenue roles at MGM in the 1930's through the early 1940's, but she most certainly had the potential to be a great star. So today, lets remember Maureen O'Sullivan, a lovely lady onscreen and off! She starred in 6 Tarzan films (1932-1942), The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1934), Hide-Out (1934), The Thin Man (1934), Anna Karenina (1935), The Devil-Doll (1936), A Day at the Races (1937), A Yank at Oxford (1938), and much more!
Publicity photo of Maureen O'Sullivan.

Maureen O'Sullivan and Robert Montgomery in a publicity photo for Hide-Out (1934). This a movie that I have been wanting to see! 

Maureen O'Sullivan with William Powell and Myrna Loy in The Thin Man (1934). 
Maureen O'Sullivan in costume for The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1934).
Maureen O'Sullivan as Jane and Johnny Weissmuller as Tarzan in a publicity photo for Tarzan Escapes (1936).

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Marion Davies: A Forgotten Treasure

Poster for The Patsy (1928).

I was watching the film, The Patsy (1928) last night. The Patsy is a silent comedy directed by King Vidor and stars the wonderful and hilarious Marion Davies.

I have been a fan of Marion Davies since I was in high school and saw the film Going Hollywood (1933), which co-starred a young Bing Crosby. I then read the book titled The Times We Had: Life with William Randolph Hearst, which was based off of audio interviews that Davies gave in the 1950's after Hearst's passing. I found her life very fascinating and also sad. Her life was filled with glamour, money, sadness, and alcohol.

Marion Davies is more remembered for being the long-time mistress of Hearst and the glamorous parties that she and Hearst used to give at their Hearst Castle in San Simeon. But, she is not remembered for being a talented actress (she also produced quite a few of her movies as well!). She's also not remembered for being a kind and generous person, which is the impression that I get from multiple co-stars and friends of her. She deserves to be remembered for the talented and funny actress that she was. Sadly, history can be unkind and unfair to people.

Marion plays Pat, the "Patsy" of her family. She is the good girl that is more or less ignored by her mother and sister, who gets all of the boys. Her father adores her and feels bad that she is not treated as well as she should be by her other family members. Pat secretly loves the boy that her sister is seeing named Tony. The rest of the film ensues in hilarious situations, which is supplied by Marion's lovely comedic performance. 

Marie Dressler, Marion Davies, and Jane Winton in The Patsy (1928). 

There is one point in the film, where she's imitating 3 famous actresses of the time: Lillian Gish, Mae Murray, and Pola Negri. She's pretty much spot on! Marion was known for imitating famous people and doing it well!
Marion Davies imitating Lillian Gish in The Patsy (1928)
Marion Davies imitating Mae Murray in The Patsy (1928).

Marion Davies imitating Pola Negri in The Patsy (1928).
 I would whole heartily recommend watching Marion's films if you love comedies and if not, give her shot, she's worth it!