Sunday, April 10, 2016

This Kickstarter Fundraiser's For Marion - Davies, That Is

Today's tips of the Raymond Griffith top hat go to actress, comedienne and philanthropist Marion Davies and to a Kickstarter Fundraiser that covers all production costs for a DVD release of the epic 1922 feature film by Cosmopolitan Pictures that made her name as a major star, When Knighthood Was In Flower.

Onscreen, the very funny, talented and unfairly maligned Marion Davies is best known for her performances in such classic late period silents as The Red Mill, The Patsy and Show People.

Miss Davies followed these by bringing her considerable comedy chops and joie de vivre into talkies in such 1930's films as It's A Wise Child and Blondie Of The Follies.

Offscreen, she is known for her life as the mistress of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst and, at San Simeon, the hostess with the mostest, but should be remembered for her many key contributions to good causes.

While also big fans of brilliant and prolific screenwriter Frances Marion, piano virtuoso Marian McPartland, Marian The Librarian from The Music Man and charming Hal Roach Studios comedienne Marion "Peanuts" Byron, we are nonetheless happy to call attention to this Marion Davies' breakthrough film comes to home video fundraiser.

While earlier Marion Davies films and the aforementioned comedies she made with director King Vidor have long since had an official DVD release, When Knighthood Was In Flower, among the biggest box-office hits of 1922, has heretofore been unavailable on DVD.

To quote the Kickstarter Fundraiser page:

"The release will be made using a new transfer off the sole surviving 35mm nitrate print, with a brand new theatre organ score buy Ben Model. The 2K digital scan will be made for the project by video lab at the Library of Congress, the archive where the print is stored and has been preserved. The 2K digital scan will be made for the project by video lab at the Library of Congress, the archive where the print is stored and has been preserved.

Based on my current performance schedule for April-August and the time it takes for scoring and authoring, I expect to be able to have the DVD/BR finished and available by the end of September 2016. I already have the logistics for the film transfers lined up and ready to go with the Library of Congress."

Due to her legend with Mr. Hearst, in this scribe's opinion, Marion's movie career has gotten short shrift, although that has begun to change with recognition at such silent film festivals from San Francisco to Pordenone, especially when The Patsy rocked a capacity crowd at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival.

We are happy and honored to pay tribute to Marion Davies and shall close today's post with clips from a few years after When Knighthood Was In Flower, in talkies. She could be quite the musical comedy gal.

Marion shares the spotlight with none other than Bing Crosby in the following clip from Going Hollywood.

Three cheers for Marion Davies and three more for this fundraiser, which ends on Wednesday, April 13.

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