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Captured on Film - The True Story of Marion Davies
Captured on Film - The True Story of Marion Davies
Actors: Marion Davies, Conrad Nagel, Helen Jerome Eddy, Flora Finch, Margaret Seddon
Directors: Hugh Munro Neely, Sidney Franklin
Genres: Educational, Documentary
NR     2002     1hr 0min

Blonde, beautiful and talented, Marion Davies was the first and funniest screwball comedienne. As star of two of the best comedies ever made, "Show People" and "The Patsy," she combined zany slapstick and exuberant mimicry...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Marion Davies, Conrad Nagel, Helen Jerome Eddy, Flora Finch, Margaret Seddon
Directors: Hugh Munro Neely, Sidney Franklin
Creators: Hugh Munro Neely, Albert Lewin, Elaina Archer, Hanns Kräly, J.M. Barrie, John J. Flynn
Genres: Educational, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Educational, Biography
Studio: Image Entertainment
Format: DVD - Black and White,Color,Full Screen
DVD Release Date: 12/03/2002
Original Release Date: 02/14/2001
Theatrical Release Date: 02/14/2001
Release Year: 2002
Run Time: 1hr 0min
Screens: Black and White,Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 5
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Wonderful documentary of an unfairly maligned actress
Ivy Lin | NY NY | 04/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Perhaps the most memorable scene in Orson Welles' Citizen Kane is his talentless, screechy wife's "operatic" debut. Just as Kane was a thinly disguised alter-ego to William Randolph Hearst, Susan Kane was a thinly disguised parody of Marion Davies, Hearst's long-time mistress.
The thing was though, the real life Marion Davies was very talented and kind, and nothing like the self-centered, pathetic Susan. This wonderful documentary restores the balance. There are lots of clips of Marion's films, and her radiance, gift of parody and mimicry, and comic timing are all obvious. Marion supposedly stuttered in real life but her talkies have no sign of the stutter. Davies is a joy to watch on camera. Her eyes are large and expressive, and she does a wicked imitation of Greta Garbo that would make SNL proud.
The documentary is narrated by Charlize Theron (who has a very pleasing speaking voice), and it has interviews with filmmakers, historians, and biographers. Virginia Madsen, who portrayed Miss Davies in a film, is also interviewed, as is Ruth Warrick, one of the stars of "Citizen Kane." Nothing is sugar-coated: Marion Davies was loyal to W.R. Hearst, but she did have dalliances with her leading men. She also, unfortunately, resembled Susan Kane in that she had a drinking problem. But it seems as if everyone who met her loved her. There are numerous testimonials to her generosity and even gullibleness.
Most documentaries are disappointing in their extras, but not "Marion Davies." It contains a "bonus" of an entire silent film of Davies -- Quality Street, which was remade into a talkie (starring Katharine Hepburn). Like most silent films this one takes some imagination to appreciate, but it's wonderful watching Marion's comic timing and charm on full display.
Highly recommended. I got this dvd for my mom, who is fascinated by Marion Davies, but ended up enjoying it tremendously."
Fact and Fiction: Either Way She's Great
Samantha Kelley | USA | 02/11/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Captured on Film: The True Story of Marion Davies is an insightful look at one of the most talented stars of the silent era. Davies' talent had been overshadowed by the way she was portrayed in the film Citizen Kane years after she had left the screen; many people suffer the misconception that Davies was a gold digging drunk with no merits as an actress. This could not be further from the truth. Paired with interviews with notable fans like Kevin Brownlow, Virginia Madsen, Fred Laurence Guiles, and Jeanine Basinger and film clips from some of the accessible to the rarest of Marion's films like Show People, The Floradora Girl, The Patsy, When Knighthood Was in Flower, Janice Meredeth, Beauty's Worth, Little Old New York, and Marianne, this documentary proves that Davies truly was a force to be reckoned with. The film concentrates less on her early life and her life after Hearst than during her stardom, but this is understandable since the bulk of viewers are most interested in this time frame.

Coupled with this fascinating documentary is the silent film Quality Street. It stars Marion as a beautiful young girl whose love for a soldier played by Conrad Nagel is threatened by the Napoleonic wars. While he is away for ten years, she loses her beauty and charm; when Nagel comes back for her, he finds an old maid schoolteacher and realizes he no longer loves her. Instead of sulking, she takes action and impersonates a niece called Miss Livvy who wins Nagel quickly with her former personality. The film is exciting, vibrant, and incredibly entertaining. It truly showcases Marion Davies' talents as a star."
You gotta love Marion Davies
Edith Ippolito | Toronto, Canada | 01/11/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Captured on Film - The True Story of Marion Davies is a marvellous bio about a truly great comedienne of the 20s and 30s. Marion is known for being the companion of William Randolph Hearst but that is a very small part of who she really was. Her talents are enormous. She is very funny, as well as beautiful but nevertheless she will take a role as a homely girl, no makeup, unattractive clothing, if the part requires it. Her ability to use foreign accents for roles is by far the best I have ever seen. This bio reveals Marion as a truly generous, loving and devoted woman to those who worked with her, be it cast or crew. She was good to everyone, quietly meeting many needs and helping those she could. I admire Marion Davies very much and have enjoyed every one of the many movies of hers I have seen, whether silent or talking pics. I implore you to check out this bio about a very talented lady."
It's true
Jim Andrews | Chicago, Illinois USA | 10/09/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"All these years I've heard what an extraordinary actress and comedienne Marion Davies was but how her talent was overshadowed by her being William Randolph Hearst's paramour. This documentary proves Davies was an exceptional film personality. Her parody of Lillian Gish had me in stitches. In scene after scene she is just perfect and she does amazing physical stunts. She is also at all times lovely and accessible; no mystery about her. On the other had, she is never a buffoon a la Lucille Ball (not a criticism of Lucy). She keeps it all high class. The record shows also she was a kind, sweet person, most beloved in the film colony. Hearst's sons treated her lovingly, then the night he died removed all traces of him from their home and turned their backs on her. It must have been stunning, but she survived. Her reputation did not survive Orson Welles' heartless and untrue depiction in "Citizen Kane." I know the film is a great American classic, but there was no reason for him ridicule Davies. He was not a nice man."