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- Paul Bern: The Life and Famous Death of the Mgm Director and Husband of Harlow
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Only some main streets near downtown were paved. Hollywood was just a large ranch when studios arrived in It turned out quite differently when the movie people began to overrun Hollywood. Edendale was mostly empty hills and a main street dotted with a half dozen stores and the Clifford Street School. The main street was Prospect Avenue today Hollywood Boulevard , a long dirt boulevard shaded by pepper and palm trees and lined with large Victorian mansions set back feet from the curb. Nearby was the huge, wooden Hollywood Hotel.
There were also plenty of redwood California bungalows and every house, big or small, seemed to be covered with vines and shrubbery and surrounded by orange trees. Borrowing the name of his hometown of Beverly Farms, Massachusetts, he built a hotel and mapped out a subdivision. The entire L. Culver City had more businesses than people. In only about 1, people lived there. Most evenings the promenade was crowded with locals wandering among the new shops.
But in the early s it was a neighborhood of apartment buildings and bungalows. The block was between 9th Street and West Olympic Boulevard, main streets lined with commercial businesses, apartments, restaurants and taverns. Around each were a half dozen bungalows. The Crawford was a three-story wooden building with 29 apartments.
Each apartment had two windows, one in the living room and another in the bedroom. The area around Georgia Street was not a movie star enclave. Cyr In the L. And get drunk. Men loved her. Charlie Chaplin and Sam Goldwyn both tried to win her and her decade-long here and gone relationship with Mack Sennett tortured both for years after it ended.
Between and the tiny dynamo made over shorts and dozens of features and was known the world over but she was mired in a massive drug problem. She and Paul became close friends. Normand was one among many beautiful women who were attracted to the urbane and witty Paul but whom Paul was somehow later judged to be inadequate.
He does crazy things for whores. When Mabel and Paul met, she was already falling. As early as her health was failing after years of alcohol and drug issues and by her acting became uninspired as she was less able to work. Paul shared directing duties with Victor Schertzinger, one of the few directors left to whom Mabel would listen. She arrives timid and untidy and moves in with elderly patron Papa Bambinetti, who is told by a slimy agent he will make her a star. Tina friends during his early years in Hollywood.
Paul also effectively used camera and expression to interject feminism and sexuality into an otherwise boyish character.
Taylor tried to save Mabel from herself until his own death in Paul tried until her death in Mason Hopper. Edward Peil, Jr. On May 1 the studio announced it would continue the series but nothing came of it. Paul also became close to year-old star Lucille Ricksen, a lovely 5' 2" and pounds child found by a Goldwyn agent in Chicago.
She and her mother Ingeborg were brought to California and she was given the female lead in the Edgar serial. From their introduction, the Ricksen women came to Paul for career and personal advice. Thoughtful and erudite, Paul had strong beliefs about moviemaking. His discussions with Edward Bernays about Freud and psychology led to a deep interest in reasons why people think and act the way they do, and his ideas were at the forefront of a shift in how movies were made.
To some extent this has already been done. Paul continued: Dr. Goodhart, a New York alienist and specialist in mental diseases, and I were recently discussing the fact that when thought is entirely freed from inhibitions it takes what may be called visual form, as in dreams. The dream, as Freud says, is a series of pictures, fantastic, kaleidoscopic, mysterious, with emphasis on essentials, and rather frightening to our consciences. Goodhart thinks that if the screen can ever present a dream as it really occurs not, as we do today, by simply continuing normal action , science may be able to develop theories and truths of great importance from it.
I hope that some day we will create a dream-picture, made of the stuff that dreams are really made of. Here will be pure thought, visualized as only the camera can visualize it. But he was also showing a knack for production supervision. In Hollywood, most early—s problems were drug-related. Each studio was serviced by its own dealer that hired low-level studio workers as couriers so deliveries could be made in minutes. Among his famous addicts were Mabel Normand and Wallace Reid.
Metro claimed that before he died he told doctors it was an accident, but it was likely a suicide. There was an even more bizarre incident that same day when gorgeous actress Olive Thomas somehow poisoned herself in Paris. Jack told police she mistakenly ingested the drug in a darkened bathroom but friends knew she was despondent over their drug addictions and that Jack had infected her with syphilis. It was incurable; the only regimen was a topical mixture of bichloride of mercury and water. Paul quickly developed a wide circle of friends from actors and cameramen to writers and studio executives.
His closest friend was Carey Wilson, a year-old Philadelphia-born writer who began writing for Jans Pictures in Three — Hollywood 55 and Metro in In the spring of , Wilson invited Paul to share his house in the block of Kings Road in the hills above Sunset Boulevard. Paul moved in during April or May but kept his Georgia Street apartment. It was an odd pairing, Paul the cultured thinker and Wilson and Gilbert acknowledged cocksmen.
First wife Leatrice Joy was devoted to director Cecil B. DeMille, who controlled his stars on- and offscreen, and whenever DeMille who hated Gilbert suggested to Joy she should separate from her husband, incredibly she did. They were very witty and very bright. The parties were incredible. The ordinary days were incredible. Once they almost blew up the place experimenting with aniline dyes. There always seemed to be a near-fatal accident in that place but things always turned out all right.
At Kings Road, it was always something, and it usually involved women and liquor- or drugfueled parties. Charlie Chaplin lived just down the hill and was a constant visitor. During July, , Harry Houdini was in L. He was well-liked and had a sparkling sense of humor, evidenced by a later letter to Goldwyn Studio business manager H. Unfortunately, the money which the Goldwyn Company paid me that year was so little that the distance of two years has caused the amount to disappear entirely from my mind.
Best, Regards, Sincerely, Paul Bern. He later wrote Edington mentioning What Ho! That summer Paul met another woman whose legacy would be tied to him forever. Barely 24, she was still married to her fourth husband actor Ben Deeley when her affair with Gilbert began. Just a month later she eloped with nearby rancher Jack Lytelle and moved to Arizona, returning three months later claiming that Lytelle had died.
In early January she ran away to L. There is a constant danger hanging over girls of such remarkable beauty as Miss Watson who are alone in the city. You are too beautiful to be without constant protection from your parents at your age. Johns was invited to the wedding and pictures ran in papers; it was soon discovered that Max was Lawrence F. Converse, a married man with three children. The enraged Mrs. Converse called police and the honeymooners were met in San Francisco; he was arrested and charged with bigamy. He knocked himself unconscious banging his head against his cell door and told the court he had no recollection of the wedding.
Musketeers propelled her to stardom amid stories of her healthy appetite for men, sex and parties. When life is so short and so delightful, why should we spend a third of the precious hours in a coma? They were a couple for most of According to St. Johns said La Marr rejected romantic involvement with Paul but they did have a very strong relationship. She gave him a silver cocktail Three — Hollywood 59 shaker engraved, To Paul, May the phantom hand of memory soothe thee now though tomorrow you mayeth regret me.
La Marr If any of his female friends needed transforming it was the tragic La Marr. Salaries are being reduced and expenditures watched with a careful eye Instead of building a whole new town, show an atmospheric bit of town, which because of the power of suggestion will be more effective than the complete town. That is the method The beautiful and volatile Barbara La Marr. Departments were reorganized and on August 13, Paul was promoted to editor in charge of the scenario department, succeeding J.
Ralph Block and Clayton Hamilton were his assistants. It was a huge promotion after a short tenure. He was also consulted on production and direction questions. He was given promotions while others were let go. If he could wait out the industry downturn and the Goldwyn-Godsol civil war, he would be in a good spot. Tom Moore was originally slated for the lead but at the last minute was replaced by Cullen Landis, a lower-cost stock player. But he must go to New York to live with and care for his aunt to receive his inheritance.
Dennis falls in love with distant cousin Clare Mordaunt Breamer and learns the manager of the family business and his assistant are stealing from the company. Hundreds surrounded the soundstage and watched from every window, walkway and rooftop. They were not disappointed; for six minutes the actors beat each other without quarter. Landis had two black eyes, a bruised cheek and a dislocated thumb and Elmer black eyes and deep cuts in his forehead that required a dozen stitches to close.
His friend John Stahl directed the sixreel feature that starred H. He also wrote a long article for the respected Photojournalist magazine in the summer of Paul never told writers what kind of stories he wanted because that led them to produce what they thought the studios wanted. In short, nothing expensive. With few exceptions everything In many cases of works written directly for the screen, the writers have been so under the domination of these earlier forms of expression that scenarios were written [as if they were for] books while movies were a subsidiary consideration.
This will need a complete change of training, and, even more, a complete liberation from the technical forms being taught. The great screen play will be written only when it is purely original effort, expressed in picture terms, born of a picture medium His writing and directing style — telling a story through the eyes of more than one actor, sometimes as many as three or four — was innovative.
We can also see life as it appears to the child, with a world of gigantic adults walking about among enormous buildings and objects. Directors should use as little retrospect as possible He thought audiences were smart enough to follow without coaching and had become an adept story-teller. He looked for stories everywhere. There is enough drama and comedy in every issue of newspaper to make a good photoplay if the reader can only see it. It came to a head on August Studio theater ownership also came under scrutiny.
Many stars — like Francis X. Stars had always been bulletproof; they could do anything they wanted without repercussion. The public had turned a blind eye until the late deaths of Robert Harron and Olive Thomas because few stories actually leaked out of Hollywood but by September, , almost 40 states were considering censorship laws. Peccadilloes that had remained private were discussed openly in papers. The deaths of Harron and Thomas were like lights going on for movie fans, but the litany of smaller problems climaxed with the Roscoe Arbuckle scandal and the murder of William Desmond Taylor, two events that brought the industry to its knees.
Arbuckle deserved it but Lasky and Zukor somehow felt extorted. Francis Hotel overlooking Union Square. And send the bills to Anger. Unfounded rumors that Rappe was violated with a Coca-Cola or champagne bottle or a piece of furniture and infected with gonorrhea are still believed today she did have gonorrhea when she died. Arbuckle was indicted for manslaughter and Lasky and Zukor let him hang even though they had millions invested in movies ready for release.
Virginia Rappe in A Twilight Baby. Corrupt D. Matthew Brady announced a second trial for January 11, Both were scheduled for production later in the spring of On February 3 another jury hung amid rumors Brady paid for the guilty votes. Looking more and more like a criminal himself, Brady said he would try Arbuckle yet again.
The trial was pushed from the headlines by perhaps the biggest Hollywood scandal to that time and Paul was dragged into the tumult due to his friendship with Mabel Normand. He walked out on all of it in but when his family saw him in a movie and tracked him to Vitagraph, he secretly supported them from Hollywood. Chaplin actress Edna Purviance lived on one side and comedian Douglas MacLean the other, separated from Taylor by a dark, eight-foot wide alley from the courtyard out to the street.
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She wailed over the body, ran upstairs and rummaged through his desk. Chauffeur Dennis or Denis Sands, who may have been his brother, a career criminal. Drug dealers angry with Taylor for public anti-drug posturing. Even director Marshall Mickey Neilan, who was in love with Minter. Of course, Minter herself. The chief suspect was her mother, Charlotte Shelby, who knew that her daughter and year-old Taylor were having a relationship. Unfortunately for Paul, Mabel was also a suspect. Mabel was the last person to see Taylor alive, leaving Lake Terrace just before he was shot.
Two pictures were on his piano, one signed by Mary Pickford and the other by Minter. Their power was absolutely enormous They could cover up a murder. Thomas L. Incredibly, in what little remained was stolen in Chicago. His successor Asa Keyes was carrying it around in a briefcase. Like Paul, Taylor cared for Mabel and tried to get her off drugs, even arranging the year-long East Coast exile from which Normand had just returned. Public criticism was directed at her because of her raucous lifestyle. Woolwine allowed papers to identify Mabel as a suspect to help distance the Minter family from suspicion, and one headline said Drug-Crazed Film Queen is Murder Suspect.
With her will be arrested — and charged directly with the crime — a man high in the moving picture industry and one whose name before today was shielded in the tragic puzzle Scandals big and small left the industry reeling as cries to clean up Hollywood grew louder. Stars were no longer immune from accountability.
They were under attack. Adela Rogers St. No cabarets. No place to dance. An occasional party Bill Taylor was a big, fascinating, strong man. No wonder. Louis B. Mayer quietly led the formation of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America, which inserted morals clauses in contracts and wrote a Code of Conduct. Indianan Will H. She was starring in the play The National Anthem when she lost her voice.
Paul was present for her screen test, which went poorly. Nerves and inexperience left her utterly unable to emote for a camera. McIntyre was ready to audition another actress when Paul stepped in, tutored Boardman on acting for a camera and convinced McIntyre to give her a second test. If not for Paul, Eleanor Boardman would not have become a star. The straight running story, especially in the comedy type of picture, is the one the audience enjoys best, I believe. Before, the editor reported to and received direction from the production supervisor, limiting editor input and limiting new ideas.
And yet, in pictures, we get only the facial expression to indicate the struggle. On the one hand, thoughts of herself and her lover together; a vision of herself at the altar, making the sacred promise; again the urge of passion; then the thought of her baby The possibilities are immense. It will speak in a language of symbols which are older than race itself and which will be clear to the simplest mind. He credited Paul for his career.
Hungry Hearts was based on a novel by Anzia Yesierska and Paul was credited as post-production supervisor. Abraham and Hannah Levin and their children come to New York and experience the challenges of immigrant life. He marries Sara and moves the Levin family out of the city into his large suburban estate. During that same period, Paul worked with Wilson on another family drama, Broken Chains.
Paul Bern: The Life and Famous Death of the Mgm Director and Husband of Harlow
Paul is not credited as a writer — Tay Garnett, Winifred Campbell and Wilson were — but period newspaper stories listed Paul as among the writers. Peter Wyndham Malcolm McGregor is disgusted with himself after cowardice stops him from helping beautiful Hortense Allen Claire Windsor during a jewel robbery. At Kings Road, things reached something of a climax that spring. Coincidently, Leatrice Joy, who had just completed Manslaughter, was also invited. Joy and Gilbert were again separated and Jack arrived at the party with the lovely Bebe Daniels. Gilbert was no longer seeing Barbara La Marr, who dated Paul for most of , and he and Joy re-connected at the party and tried to leave quietly for Kings Road but were surrounded by cheering guests throwing rice.
One morning not long after, Leatrice answered the door and found a tiny blonde on the doorstep. But a few days later he and his ex-wife reconciled and he moved out of Kings Road. When the Gilberts moved to an English bungalow at Sweetzer and Fountain a few months later, Paul returned to his Georgia Street apartment. Childhood sweethearts Glory Quayle Mae Busch and John Storm Richard Dix leave the Isle of Man for London, where she wants to become a nurse and he — a Christian socialist who tries to live as Christ would have — is entering a monastery.
But she becomes a famous stage star and he leaves the monastery and renounces his vows because he loves her. Lord Robert Ure becomes infatuated with Glory even after having an affair and betraying her friend Polly Love. To keep Glory from John, he incites the populace against John, claiming he has blasphemed by predicting the world will end soon. A confused John then wanders the streets Three — Hollywood 73 where is he is mortally beaten by an enraged mob. What was written described sets at Culver City.
She leaves another infant daughter with Blackbird and moves to a small island near Pago Pago with Faulke. Nowhere in my research was there any reference at all to such leanings. Paul introduced Haines to Barbara La Marr that summer. His romantic relationship with La Marr had cooled but the two remained very close. If Paul still held a romantic candle for her, he would not have been threatened by the homosexual Haines. La Marr spoke of marrying Haines and the three socialized frequently from late into early Stock work: Lowell [apparently Massachusetts]; Screen career: publicity writer, laboratory manager, cutter, scenario writer, director, editor.
At present editor at Goldwyn Studios, Hollywood. Traveling to Hollywood with Laemmle in July to check the California lot, Thalberg was left there to reorganize the operation as de facto general manager. He was barely He kept his tightly knit, hand-picked coterie together for the rest of his life; it was made up almost entirely of German Jews, most older, most well-educated, and interestingly most short like him.
However, just after Paul arrived at Universal in January, Thalberg left. The previous December, Thalberg met Louis B. Mayer wanted Thalberg. He must have known he was leaving and still brought Paul into Universal during his negotiations with Mayer, perhaps intending to bring Paul to Metro later. Paul worked for several studios during Stahl unit at the Louis B.
He worked at Warner Brothers that summer and was also involved with a number of Famous Players—Lasky and Paramount projects. Paul was still a sought-after interviewee and still stressing the need for more creative writing. The stories must have some extraordinary feature Great stuff can not be labeled or pigeon-holed. He believed a great scenario could be developed from a single good idea; that a great plot could be built around a single situation or character. Haines was usually very open about his personal life but remained tight-lipped about the La Marr quarrel that took place after he worked in her Souls for Sale at Goldwyn.
His actions were out of character; his friendships, particularly to female friends like Carole Lombard and Joan Crawford, lasted for life. But something happened with La Marr; he never spoke to her or about her again. It had to do with Paul.
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Barely two years from rocketing to stardom after The Three Musketeers, La Marr already had uncontrollable addictions to alcohol, drugs and sex. Four — Director and Father 77 Early was a window into her life. She then broke off the Beery engagement but Hollywood was already abuzz that the baby was her own. Her work schedule was admittedly spotty due to increasing drug use but it never affected her social schedule. People in Hollywood whispered that La Marr had given birth secretly and somehow arranged to adopt her own child.
La Marr did indeed adopt her own son. From his earliest memories, Marvin renamed Don Gallery understood Paul to be his father. In February, , the seven-month-old was sent to Hope Cottage. La Marr picked Dallas because of a pre-arranged trip in March to serve as queen of a large automobile show. While in town she arranged the orphanage tour, brought some photographers, and picked out her own son. She brought him home in early March and said she would raise him to be the kind of man she wanted for a husband. He brought presents for Don and his sister who was about the same age , played with them, and often took them out for afternoon trips.
Later, Paul brought Jean Harlow along with him; Don and his sister knew her as their godmother. A month after returning from Dallas, her fourth husband Phil Ainsworth was sent to San Quentin for passing bad checks to buy presents intended to win her back. He was unable to obtain a wedding license in L. Years later Adela Rogers St.
La Marr had no more success with Dougherty than with her previous husbands. Six months later she was named a co-respondent in a divorce case and Dougherty moved out. But Elliot marries Myra and returns home to the dismay of his family and friends. After upbraiding his so-called friends, Elliot searches for Myra, arriving just in time to save her from being hit by a train after her foot gets caught in a switch.
That summer Paul joined Rex Ingram, Ernst Lubitsch, Hugo Ballin, and Robert Wagner as a founding member of Little Theater Films, which would develop regional theater groups and university drama societies to provide an Four — Director and Father 79 avenue for new movie scenarios. June Mathis assisted Paul with the editing. Victor offers Bessie a place to stay after her brutal stepfather throws her out and after a night together — and apparently having sex — Victor decides he must marry her.
But his father dies and he must take over as judge, as his best friend Alick Gell falls in love with a nowpregnant Bessie. She is unfairly charged with murder after suffering a miscarriage and refusing to name the father, and Victor presides over the case and betrays her by sentencing her to death. This is due to the skillful adaptation There are also obvious casting issues. Even so, audiences loved it. On top of everything, Charlotte mistakenly believes her husband is having an affair so she begins an affair and asks Mizzi to keep her husband busy, not knowing Mizzi desires him. Amidst all the confusion, Mizzi and Gustav Mueller turn their attentions to each other.
There is no straining for effects But he continued to live frugally, loath to spend money on himself but showering it on friends. He was still living on Georgia Street, sending twice-monthly checks to Dorothy at the Algonquin, and helping Barbara La Marr and Mabel Normand through their personal travails. She was fading fast and needed cash, so she asked Paul to sell the last vestige of her wealthy lifestyle: her Rolls Royce.
He pretended to broker a deal to sell the car for twice its value, gave her the money and put the Rolls in a garage. However, a note he sent her from the Ambassador on their pale green stationery offers a hint at romance: There is nothing in the world about which a man is as stupid as the purchaser of a gift for a woman — unless he happens to be in love with her — and then he makes the most senseless present it is possible to desire. Would you mind very much if I ask you to get your own gift, as useless and unnecessary as your mind may dictate?
Many thanks for favors and kindnesses — and best wishes for the New Year — Paul Bern. It should also be noted that by early Mabel was a full-out alcoholic, something Paul would not have found appealing. After arriving in the U. Men was a story Buchowetzki carried for years in his head with Negri in mind. Paul brought the story to life. The scenario was originally titled Compromised. She has a chance meeting with impoverished Georges Robert Frazer , whose honesty and love restores her faith in men.
But Men is Negri at the pinnacle of greatness!
See her as the dancing pet of Paris — matching her wits against the kind of men who bargain for souls, reveling as she makes them pay the price of her youth. In the meantime, Paul worked on his second Paramount script for Negri, Four — Director and Father 83 Lily of the Dust, a tragic love story set in Germany that Buchowetzki again directed. Does Lily love von Mertzbach?
Does she love Richard? Will Walter accept her? In a shocking twist, Walter indeed refuses to accept the wayward girl and she dejectedly returns to Karl. Lasky tried to make a star of the demanding but untalented Negri. Lubitsch and Negri had history. Negri demanded her friend and lover Rod La Rocque star with her; like her, he had looks but limited skills.
She is tormented by guilt and releases him to return to Anna. The czarina slips back into the arms of the French Ambassador. Nilsson lives in a huge mansion with footmen, butlers, Russian dancers and Ethiopian servants. The shock of seeing him ignites fear of losing her looks so she has an operation in Vienna to restore her beauty, but a side-effect from the operation is that she remembers nothing from the weeks before and becomes obsessed with men.
When Sylvia tries to drown herself to get away from De Greve, Vanna regains her wits and lures him to her bedroom where she tells him of their past and beats him with a riding crop. For good measure her long-time admirer Richard Dowling beats up De Greve himself before proposing to Vanna. Everyone is reunited and Vanna recognizes the folly of vanity. Within two months her health declined and she could work no more.
Paul visited her every week for the rest of They had endured dozens of separations — some suggested by Cecil B. Their efforts were initially successful but when she returned to their former home and found evidence of his affairs, she went back to her mother. When Joy gave birth to their daughter a month later, Gilbert sent her 1, roses. DeMille at the Famous Players—Lasky studio. She married director John H.
Then his body was taken to Texas for another funeral, this time with a weeping wife. Four — Director and Father 87 jou would show some manliness but he is afraid of losing her respect if he treats her badly. But when Edmond discovers his wife with the handsome cyclist he develops a temper and beats him up, leading to a reconciliation.
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After her performance in The Bright Shawl she was assumed to be on a fast track but she was a temperamental diva and studios began blackballing her. The [belief that] theater-goers accepted their entertainment without consideration for its quality was repeated so often that many directors believed it. Paul befriended Ernst Lubitsch after his arrival at Goldwyn and oversaw his Forbidden Paradise script. Lubitsch visited the Open All Night set and sat for publicity stills with Paul, whose respect for Lubitsch led to accusations that he copied the Lubitsch style. Lubitsch thought the script was everything, that a well-done script could be easily translated by a director into a visual created by the script.
All I have to do is photograph it For me, it is virtually all done in the script. She is forced to get a job when the electricity and telephone are shut off. When his car breaks down, he is picked up by Bess Carlysle, an old girlfriend who insists he return to her apartment to dry off. He is too stubborn to explain so Judith secures a divorce decree and leaves for the Orient to wait the year for it to take effect. In the 24th hour of the th day they realize they are still in love and they invalidate the divorce decree and regain their lost happiness.
The hotel was also a hub of Hollywood society. Goodman and taken to his Beverly Hills estate, where he allegedly died Tuesday, November A few days later she left for Europe for a month. But as those headlines mysteriously vanished, Hearst claimed Ince fell ill visiting his San Simeon castle with Nell and their children and died of acute indigestion. It was rumored that Hearst, who knew of a Davies-Chaplin affair, grabbed the pearl-handled, diamond-encrusted pistol he used to shoot gulls and took a shot at a man he believed was Chaplin but was Ince.
Ince was obviously shot; numerous witnesses saw his head wound. The San Diego D. Goodman — who concocted perhaps the most farcical story, that he and Ince left the boat after Ince took ill and took a train toward L. Goodman then claimed to have left before she arrived. Controversy swirled for decades, most caused by those aboard the Oneida.
Chaplin denied being there but insisted he, Hearst and Davies visited Ince at home before he died. Parsons never said anything about the weekend and within a few weeks was writing a syndicated Hearst column, making her the most powerful writer in Hollywood. Baby Louise was raised in an orphanage paid for by Davies. Nell received a large trust fund and a former Hearst property in Hollywood, the Chateau Elysee Apartments, where she lived for years.
It was originally scheduled for summer but moved up to January. With McGregor away on business, Billy invites famed but scandalous French designer Madame Louise to present a fashion show. He found spots for each one, among them Olive Borden, who was given a small role. Rapf invested an inordinate amount of time and money in grooming her. But she was a handful, a well-known bisexual with a voracious sexual appetite. She also befriended Paul and sought him out often for advice.
They were also rumored to have been sexually involved. Even with his hectic schedule, Paul still visited young Lucille Ricksen every week, bringing magazines and presents and comforting her as tuberculosis ravaged the beautiful teenager. For hours he sat by her bed and read to her or just held her hand. On February 26, her distraught mother Ingeborg suffered a fatal heart attack and collapsed, falling dead on top of her bedridden daughter.
For the next three weeks, Paul came every day, talking and helping her accept her approaching death. On March 13 the year-old died in her bed with Paul still holding her hand. He remained distraught even as funeral home attendants took away her body for a funeral he paid for. He also paid for the headstone for Lucille and her mother. He traveled by train to Arizona and the Grand Canyon and stayed at the El Tovar, a turn-of-the-century hotel fashioned after a European hunting lodge sitting on the rim of the canyon. When he returned in April, he began Grounds for Divorce, a farce comedy expected to be a big Lasky hit.
Grounds is the story of Maurice Sorbier Matt Moore , a Parisian divorce lawyer obsessed with his work. Guido does a dozen loops, spirals and barrel-rolls to intimidate Zapata, who still refuses to sign. Spying a parachute at his feet, he dons it and jumps. Zapata signs the papers. The result was a clearer picture with more movement. When Stuart buys her a mink coat, his father Huntley Gordon refuses to pay for it and cuts him off so she discards him. His father then becomes infatuated with her and gives her the same mink and begins to neglect his family even as he and his wife are feted at a 25th anniversary party.
The entire Borden family is chastened by the experience and vow to start a new life together. In late July, Paul took a large crew by train to Sacramento and six hours by car north into the mountains for Flower of Night, a Pola Negri drama set in The area was settled during the gold rush and grew from 20 cabins to buildings housing 50 saloons and brothels but by it was abandoned. A single mine 20 miles away remained. After being accosted by a drunken Bylandt, Carlota returns home and confesses she has dishonored the family name. Fifteen hundred extras were hired to re-populate the town, and water was pumped in from four miles away.
Unless we get away from the saving of mortgaged homes and Real dramatic punches lie in originality, in simple and human situations — not in time-worn hokum. Younger as masters of the art of screenwriting. All were young but eventually were recognized among the greatest of that generation. Some were planned but most were due to fortuitous, blind luck. MGM came into being on April 14, Thalberg found Corbaloy, his chief writing assistant, teaching screenwriting at the Palmer Institute of Authorship.
Producer Stromberg was a handsome Kentucky-born sportswriter with a nervous tic who was the sloppiest dresser at MGM; Thalberg could tell what he had for lunch by looking at this tie. Thalberg valued their opinions and actively sought their counsel. Director Victor Seastrom once sat outside for three days waiting to see his boss before leaving for two weeks in Sweden. Seastrom, I think Mr.
Thalberg can see you now. He freely loaned money and expected no repayment. He also understood the undisciplined uneducated girls who were unable to handle that talent. He certainly understood me Thalberg biographer Roland Flamini suggested that she convinced Paul to try heroin and his subsequent addiction forced Thalberg to put him into a sanitarium.
By she was barely able to function as her health rapidly failed. Today the area is crowded with homes but in half the lots on the block were empty and the acreage between was farmed. It was a restful spot where Barbara spent the rest of unsuccessfully trying to regain her health. Paul had been sending money to her for a year and now paid for a visiting nurse three days a week, for weekly doctor visits and for her other bills. Dear Paul is the only man I have ever known who has permitted me to love him as a friend.
Only her closest friends knew that La Marr was dying. Several times a week Paul made the long trip from Hollywood to Altadena — in the pre-freeway days, it could take over an hour — to just sit with her. For months he sat for hours holding her hand, talking, or reading to her as he had done for little Lucille Ricksen a year before. The Faneaux family lives on the island of Majorca, product of a wealthy but derelict English father and a Spanish mother.
She takes a job dancing in a dive to discourage Hautrive, but when Ewing abducts her, Hautrive rescues her and brings the Faneaux family back to his English estate. Paul helped Thalberg — who retained producer credit for himself— prepare for Torrent, which would start after Thanksgiving. Paul arranged a role for Joan Crawford in Paris. Still, they appeared as a couple often during the spring and summer and she liked him; he provided her some much-needed culture along with the career support.
The female lead was originally offered to Norma Shearer, who declined the role. She turned a one-dimensional character into a sultry screen persona that has rarely been duplicated. When Paul arrived at MGM he was a prominent member of the movie colony but his reputation for helping people was already equally celebrated. It was all untrue but made for great pathos. His name is a byword of kindness and understanding. He is the most beloved citizen in the City of MakeBelieve. He is the by Mr. He is the diplomat of the lot.
He is the producer of— Peace. He received invitations to almost every social event in Hollywood and attended many; he loved a party and being around people. He was among the most respected executives in the movies and the most beloved man in Hollywood. Filming was scheduled to begin in late March and was expected to take at least two months. The following Sunday, the 30th, she died. She was only Paul was alone with her, holding her hand when she died. In her hand was a single red rose, a gift from a young fan.
A spray of orchids from Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford lay across her waist. An estimated 40, people streamed past as several mini-riots broke out among the throngs waiting outside. Two dozen policemen were called to maintain order. The next morning a few close friends traded gowns for funeral suits. Green, and R.
The simple service was presided over by a Christian Science reader after which La Marr was interred in a crypt at Hollywood Memorial Park, just down the aisle from Rudolph Valentino. No records of any legal wrangling could be found so it appears Paul simply backed off and let the Gallery-Pitts adoption take place. Once their adoption was complete, Marvin was renamed Donald. Filming began the end of March and lasted into July. It was the story of a married woman who follows her engineer lover to a construction project in Argentina while destroying every man she meets.
Exhibitors were given the choice of the original or a happy ending; the city theatergoers liked the original ending while the far-off viewers wanted the happy ending. On the train they meet con men The Colonel and Robert, who try to swindle the pair out of their bankroll. Their pet bear Skeemo creates a riot in the lobby of their plush hotel as the two innocents are met by Alan Burkett Sherman , the engineer who appraised their mine.
Based on the George Gibbs novel The Yellow Dove, it was an elaborate and expensive shoot; 35 sets were built including a replica German village on Long Island. Phillips Oppenheim. For several years she had been living at the Algonquin like a recluse, rarely engaging people in conversation and leaving her room only to buy her newspaper, for meals, and infrequent wanderings talking to herself about religion and speaking with God.
She always wore the same clothing; a long red coat and matching turban. Henry Bern said the visits with the increasingly more delusional Dorothy made Paul physically ill. His newly hired secretary Irene Harrison began sending his monthly checks to Henry in New Rochelle rather than to Dorothy. Henry then gave Dorothy her money. The scenario was based on the novel The Ex-Duke by E. She resembled Colleen Moore and, working with F.
Murnau and Fritz Lang, became a star known for vamp roles. After her German classic Variete Variety became a U. So Paul arranged for tutors, found her a place in New York, and helped with studio dealings. A month earlier Barrymore took part in a California-to-Honolulu race in his foot gaff-rigged racing schooner The Mariner and intended to enter the Honolulu-to—San Francisco race the following month and was showing no disposition to leave for Hollywood any time soon.
Hawaii to bring him back. Oddly, when Barrymore was a struggling artist he drew the original theater poster of E. Sothern as Villon for the famous play. City of Los Angeles on the 30th. After a stopover in San Francisco on July 2, they arrived in L. The studio was surprised to learn that Veidt was 6' 3" and, knowing Louis XI was short and squat, concealed his height with long robes and made him walk in a stooped fashion. The realism is stunning. Villon lived an amazing life. Unpublished for 30 years after his death, they are considered poetic masterpieces.
The duke arrives, but Villon knows of his intentions and insults him. My God, what a ham! The masterpiece was subsequently preserved by the Library of Congress. She then marries the man who shot her husband while carrying on another affair with his best friend. As the morning dragged on, Gilbert realized Garbo was leaving him at the altar, retreated to a bathroom and encountered Louis B.
Within a month she was moved into his Tower Road estate. Her exile to New York in was a miserable failure. During a drunken dinner on the 16th, Cody jokingly asked her to marry him and she agreed. They raced to Ventura and awoke a justice of the peace, were married and raced home. Paul Bern will write the continuity and James Flood will direct. Receiving a letter from him allowing a visit as long as she arrives before that evening, she realizes she is too poorly dressed to see her child.
Finlay Opposite: John Gilbert on the porch of his Tower Road aerie, at the time of his tortured relationship with Garbo. The baby had died the day before. As MGM headed into there were ominous clouds gathering. Studios already concerned with declining attendance also worried about the growing popularity of radio and, simply, sound in general.
While Warners was building three huge sound stages in February, MGM joined First National, Universal, and Producers Distributing, agreeing to take a year studying concepts before choosing one system. Thalberg was strangely uninterested in what he considered a novelty and Paul seemed to at least publicly agree. Whether he was toeing the party line or actually believed it is hard to decipher. He understood movies were commerce, candid in his assessment that a movie must be great industry before it is great art.
Then there is the director with whom he works. What novelist thinks of readers all over the world, as we have to? He retained an amazingly intuitive understanding of the process. Rapf or Mr. Thalberg or Paul During February and March he made frequent visits to Santa Monica Hospital to visit Mabel, whose health was rapidly failing. Alcohol and drugs worsened already tubercular lungs and she spent a month near death before recovering and returning home to Camden Drive.
Paul socialized with the couple often. Paul nursed her through that period and the two again appeared to be a couple for six months or so. After working for Chaplin for a year, Tully tired of studio life and wrote for movie magazines. Talmadge reported to the set the day after she completed the classic Camille. To get rid of Powell he frames him on a murder charge.
Garbo was still living with Jack Gilbert on Tower Road. To make her feel at home he built a mock Swedish cabin in a stand of pine trees behind the house and installed a remote-control stream stocked with trout. Ricardo Cortez was slated to co-star but after the public response to Flesh and the Devil he was replaced by John Gilbert on May Lorna Moon and Frances Marion adapted the story about a woman who leaves her husband and son but soon realizes her tragic fate and the futility of her existence and commits suicide by throwing herself in front of a moving train.
Again, East and West Coast exhibitors preferred the tragedy and the middle of the country favored the Frances Marion reuniting of Vronsky and Anna. The building of the Hearst Castle began shortly after he met the yearold Davies dancing in New York. The construction work and their affair lasted until his death. There are indoor and outdoor marble pools with gold-inlaid tile, tennis courts surrounded by dozens of statues, and acres of pristine countryside.
Turning off the coast road, the caravan wound its way up a winding mile road past herds of game animals roaming the property. Once they arrived, guests were free to swim, play tennis, or join Hearst on a ride on one of horses. Some of the weekend was choreographed custom. Sunday night everyone shared a big ice cream social.
Hearst did not allow drinking but Marion instructed friends how to smuggle in liquor. Paul had certainly arrived. Standing in front, from left are David O. Her story has to be taken with a grain of salt. By the time she wrote her memoirs at 99 her bitterness with Hollywood was deep and she particularly relished describing the bosses with whom she so frequently battled as amoral debauchers.
The ax Sagor Maas so clearly grinds shades her memoirs. The well-connected Koverman had been a secretary for Herbert Hoover. It had become customary for studio executives to return from the continent with European directors, writers or actors to work for their studio. These imports added mystery to the product whether or not they worked well. Thalberg had doggedly but unsuccessfully pursued Constance Talmadge but settled for Norma when Talmadge would not marry him. He stayed in L. Five — Paul and Irving The marriage was more arrangement than love story.
Irving held a story conference with Laurence Stallings as he got dressed and when the couple returned from a honeymoon in Monterey his mother Henriette still sat at the head of the dinner table. The couple slept in separate bedrooms at opposite ends of the massive mansion in rooms assigned by Henriette, who still tucked her son into bed. Norma sleeps with the boss. Most meetings at MGM that fall concerned sound. On November 8, Paul met with Thalberg and Mayer to discuss how quickly their stages could be converted and at what cost.
Thalberg maintained his wait-and-see attitude but it was obvious to all that something would have to be done.
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