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Today: Magnificent, delightful Marion Davies 'Under the Stars'



If you have Turner Classic Movies on your cable system, celebrate today; Carole Lombard would. That's because Aug. 29 is the day TCM is making Lombard's good friend Marion Davies its subject for 24 hours as part of its "Summer Under the Stars." (Lombard and Davies are shown with Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and Jr., probably at Marion's fabled Ocean House in Santa Monica.)



By now, most of us know not to conflate the real-life Davies with the fictional Susan Alexander Kane of "Citizen Kane" fame. Whereas Susan was a marginal talent, an opera singer perceived as pathetic, Marion was genuinely talented, particularly in comedy. And while "Kane" barely dwells on how the world viewed the second Mrs. Kane, Hollywood never resented Davies (who would've married William Randolph Hearst in a heartbeat had Millicent Hearst chosen to divorce her husband). Instead, the film community admired her personality, charity and generosity to causes such as the Marion Davies Children's Clinic at UCLA:



The Davies salute features 14 films, half of them silents. Here's the schedule (all times Eastern):

* 6 a.m. -- "Hearts Divided" (1936)
* 7:30 a.m. -- "Operator 13" (1934)
* 9 a.m. -- "Enchantment" (1921)
* 10:30 a.m. -- "Bride's Play" (1921)
* noon -- "The Red Mill" (1926)
* 1:30 p.m. -- "Five And Ten" (1931)
* 3:15 p.m. -- "Peg O' My Heart" (1933)
* 5 p.m. -- "The Floradora Girl" (1930)
* 6:30 p.m. -- "The Patsy" (1928)
* 8 p.m. -- "When Knighthood Was In Flower" (1922)
* 10:15 p.m. -- "Show People" (1928)
* midnight -- "Marianne" (1929)
* 2 a.m. -- "Blondie of the Follies" (1932)
* 4 a.m. -- "Page Miss Glory" (1935)

"When Knighthood Was In Flower" (among William Powell's early films) is a TCM premiere, a recently restored movie that typifies the type of big-budget spectacle Hearst loved financing. While such productions aren't Davies' strong suit, she acquits herself well in them. It's in between two films directed by King Vidor that show Marion at her comedic best.

My Facebook friend Lara Gabrielle Fowler is saluting Davies day with a live tweet plus Q&A. Her handle is @backlotsfilm -- it should be plenty of fun. Make sure and check it out. (Below is Davies from "Show People" between co-star William Haines and Charlie Chaplin in a cameo.)

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