[Note: The following review is of a non-Peary title; click here to read more.]
“I didn’t know that they made them that green.”
Accompanied by her father (Dell Henderson), a naive aspiring actress (Marion Davies) arrives in Hollywood and befriends a kind actor (William Haines) who helps her break into slapstick comedies. Soon, however, she’s lured into making “highbrow” pictures, and rejects Haines in favor of her new leading man (Paul Ralli).
- Aspiring Stars
- King Vidor Films
- Marion Davies Films
- Silent Films
Although Peary doesn’t list this King Vidor-directed silent comedy in his GFTFF, he nominates Marion Davies as one of the Best Actresses of the Year in his Alternate Oscars, so I’m reviewing it briefly here. Fortunately, while Davies’ performance is indeed a lot of fun — what a gifted, no-holds-barred comedienne she was! — the film itself is also worth a look by all film fanatics, given its insightful skewering of silent-era Hollywood (it would make a great double-bill with Singin’ in the Rain). An especially delightful scene shows us Davies attempting to cry on cue, with “Hearts and Flowers” (so that infamously sentimental ditty has a name!) playing in the background, and a helpful assistant peeling onions nearby. Watch for a host of cameos by famous stars of the day — including Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, and Vidor himself.
Note: Show People is also of interest given the presence of William Haines, an openly gay man in early Hollywood who gave up his career when he refused L.B. Mayer’s request to engage in a “lavender” (sham) marriage to camouflage his homosexuality.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Marion Davies as Peggy
- William Haines as Billy Boone
- Peggy’s strained attempt to produce tears
- A fun skewering of silent-era Hollywood
Yes, for Davies’ performance, and as a fun Hollywood satire.