name = Show People
Marion Davies William Haines Charles Chaplin(uncredited)
cinematography = John Arnold
editing = Hugh Wynn
runtime = 79 min.
country = USA
imdb_id = 0019379
"Show People" (1928) is a
comedy silent filmproduced at Cosmopolitan Productionsfor Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and directed by King Vidor. The movie was a starring vehicle for actress Marion Daviesand actor William Hainesand included notable cameo appearances by many of the great film stars of the day, including Charles Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, William S. Hart, and John Gilbert. Vidor also appears in a cameo as himself. The film is a comedic satire of the early days of film in Hollywood, and is considered Davies' best role. The film was re-released in the 1980s, with a new orchestral score by Carl Davis.
In 2003, "Show People" was selected for preservation in the United States
National Film Registryby the Library of Congressas being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
Peggy Pepper (Davies) arrives in
Hollywoodfrom Georgia, accompanied by her father, General Marmaduke Oldfish Pepper, who is pushing his daughter to become an actress. She meets Billy Boone (Haines) at a local buffet where studio employees frequently lunch. He helps her get work at Comet Studio doing comedies with him. After receiving a cream pie in the face, she is quite disconcerted, but her 'acting' gets a lot of laughs from the cast and crew. Peggy, however, has her eyes set on doing what she considers 'serious' acting, in other words, drama.
High Art Studio soon discovers her and she leaves Billy and Comet to work there. For her new image, the company gives her the name Patricia Pepoire and she does her best to play the part, on and off screen. One day in a nearby canyon, she is working on location in a costumed dramatic picture, Billy simultaneously on a comic short. They encounter, but 'Patricia' ignores him and Billy is hurt. Her performances, in the meantime, start to estrange some of her audience, who neither understand or appreciate her 'Art.' She plans to marry co-star Andre Telefair (Ralli) for the fake title and the publicity. Billy, still taken with the old Pepper, is determined to bring her back to him and, moreover, to herself.
"Show People" offers an entertaining inside look at 1920s Hollywood and reflects on the actual acting career of starlet Marion Davies. Though one of the great comic talents of her day, featured in many of the decade's successful comedies, such as "
Tillie the Toiler" (1927), she too often appeared in extravagant, costly period romance films at the behest of her newspaper tycoon lover William Randolph Hearst, who supposedly enjoyed seeing his mistress in fancy costume. For example: " Janice Meredith" (1924), " Yolanda" (1924), " Bride's Play" (1922) and the infamously expensive " When Knighthood Was in Flower" (1922), all financially backed by Hearst's Hollywood film company, Cosmopolitan Productions. Lucille Ballfrequently cited Davies as a major comedic influence and all of Ball's facial techniques and comic behaviors evident in " I Love Lucy" are startlingly apparent in Davies' performance in this film.
The film has a remarkable number of cameo appearances from some of the top stars of the day, including
Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, William S. Hart, and others. Many agreed to appear out of friendship with Davies, Hearst, and director Vidor, but the positive publicity value of cooperating with Hearst and MGM also played a factor.
Marion Davies... Peggy Pepper / Herself
William Haines... Billy Boone
Dell Henderson... General Marmaduke Oldfish Pepper
*Paul Ralli ... Andre Telefair
*Tenen Holtz ... Casting director
Harry Gribbon... Jim - Comedy director
Sidney Bracey... Dramatic director
Polly Moran... Peggy's maid
*Albert Conti ... Producer
Renée Adorée... Herself - at Banquet (uncredited)
George K. Arthur... Himself - at Banquet (uncredited)
Eleanor Boardman... Herself - clip from " Bardelys the Magnificent" (uncredited) (archive footage)
Charles Chaplin... Himself - Autograph Seeker (uncredited)
Lew Cody... Himself - at High Art Studios (uncredited)
*Ray Cooke ... Director's Assistant (uncredited)
Karl Dane... Himself - at Banquet (uncredited)
Douglas Fairbanks... Himself - at Banquet (uncredited)
Bess Flowers... Undetermined Bit Role (uncredited)
John Gilbert... Himself (uncredited) (also archive footage)
Elinor Glyn... Herself - at High Art Studios (uncredited)
*Pat Harmon ... Studio Gateman (uncredited)
William S. Hart... Himself - at Banquet (uncredited)
Leatrice Joy... Herself - at Banquet (uncredited)
Rod La Rocque... Himself - at Banquet (uncredited)
*Lillian Lawrence ... Comedy Player at Farewell Banquet (uncredited)
Mae Murray... Herself - at Banquet (uncredited)
Louella Parsons... Herself - at Banquet (uncredited)
*Kalla Pasha ... Comic chef (uncredited)
Aileen Pringle... Herself - at Banquet (uncredited)
*Bert Roach ... Heavyset man in casting agency (uncredited)
Dorothy Sebastian... Herself - at Banquet (uncredited)
Rolfe Sedan... Portrait Photographer (uncredited)
Norma Talmadge... Herself - at Banquet (uncredited)
Estelle Taylor... Herself - at Banquet (uncredited)
Dorothy Vernon... Comedy Player at Farewell Banquet (uncredited)
King Vidor... Himself (uncredited)
*Coy Watson ... Messenger Boy (uncredited)
Claire Windsor... Herself - at Banquet (uncredited)
* [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0019379/ "Show People"] at the Internet Movie Database
List of United States comedy films
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