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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on November 26, 2007
For many years Orson Welles and his opus CITIZEN KANE clobbered the career and talent of screen legend Marion Davies. NO MORE. Fred Lawrence Guiles and his superior MARION DAVIES put the star back in the limelight that was robbed from her so long ago.

With careful research and excellent storytelling ability Mr. Guiles unfolds the story of Marion Douras from Brooklyn to Marion Davies icon. The reader sees her rise from the Ziegfeld Follies to the Queen of silent and early talkie Hollywood.

Mr.Guiles has left no stone unturned as he shows that Miss Davies was not at all like her fictional counterpart Susan Alexander in CITIZEN KANE. The one impression that the reader comes away with after completing this book is that Miss Davies was a very gifted comedienne, as was pointed out in the non-Hearst press of the day. Her lover of over three decades, William Randolph Hearst, put her in front of the cameras, but it was a testament to Miss Davies comedic ability that she enchanted the public. There is a wonderful and complete filmography at the end of the book--complete with cast, credits, profit/loss and reviews.

Mr. Guiles also gives great coverage to Miss Davies years as a grand Hollywood hostess at Hearst's castle San Simeon. The "Golden Days" of Hollywood come alive as the author chronicles party after party with guests lists that included Jean Harlow, Norma Shearer, Rudolph Valentino, Charlie Chaplin, Gloria Swanson, Constance Bennett, etc.--great stars all.

The author's portrait of Miss Davies is not all sunshine and roses. Mr. Guiles also covers the actress' alcoholism, her possible affair with Charlie Chaplin (among others) and the old chestnut as to whether Miss Davie's niece Patricia Lake was actually the love child of Davies and Hearst.

There is a certain poignancy in the story as Hearst starts to fade and Miss Davies stands helplessly by as the only man she ever truly loved lay dying. From Hearst's death to Miss Davies own a decade later the story takes on a "Sunset Boulevardesque" tone a Miss Davies seems to be lost in a world that no longer wants her nor cares for her.

This book is a must for anyone interested in silent Hollywood of even movies in general. MARION DAVIES is a movie star biography in the grandest order. Written with sympathy, yet objectivity, it evokes an era that is sadly long gone. More importantly it brings to life one of the most effervescent silent screen stars ever and rights a terrible wrong that was allowed to go unchallenged for decades.
-----Michael J. Powazinik
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 21, 2011
MARION WAS A WONDERFUL COMPANION TO THE CHIEF, WILLIAM RANDOLPH HEARST AND THE LIFE OF THE PARTY. THIS BOOK DEMONSTRATES SHE WAS SMART AND THE HEARST KIDS REALLY TREATED HER ROUGH AFTER THE CHIEF DIED. SHE MADE HIS LIFE FUN, SHE SHARED IT SELFLESSLY, AND BAILED THE CHIEF OUT DURING HARDTIMES. LATELY, IT HAS BEEN REVEALED THAT THE SUPPOSED NIECE THE TWO OF THEM REARED WAS ACTUALLY THEIR LOVE CHILD AND BACK THEN IT WOULD HAVE BEEN SCANDALOUS, BUT THE NIECE/DAUGHTER OF THEIRS WOULD HAVE HER OWN INTERESTING MEMOIRS. MARION WAS SO WELL LIKED. SHE WASN'T A PHONY. SHE WAS REAL AND IT WOULD HAVE BEEN WONDERFUL TO GO TO THEIR THEME PARTIES. THERE IS AN INTERESTING VIDEO DONE BY KEN MURRAY ON MANY OF THE HOLLYWOOD INSIDERS AND HE TAKES US BY VIDEO TO SAN SIMEON AND MANY OTHER PLACES AND ACTORS AND ACTRESSES. KEN WAS ALSO A GOOD FRIEND OF A REAL DECENT GUY, LEW AYRES WHO BECAUSE OF HIS CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR STATUS WAS ALMOST RUINED BY HOLLYWOOD AND LOUIS B MAYER AND OLIVIA DEHAVILLAND THAT SWEET DETERMINED WOMAN SAVED HIS CAREER AND KEN DOES A WONDERFUL JOB ON SHARING HIS HOME MOVIES AND THE BEAUTY OF SAN SIMEON AS IT WAS BACK THEN IS ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 6, 2013
My sister and I went to visit one of Marion Davies's home on Santa Monica Beach last year. It was a thrill to see the newly opened guest house. (The original main house was torn down in the 70's for public parking!!) My sister and I both read this book. It was so interesting to learn more about the woman whom I've seen in films and news reels over the years. She was a famous hostess, kind and welcoming to so many famous people over the years. Great reading!
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on October 16, 2010
Excellent biography on Marion Davies. Revealed much insight into her character, and her lifestyle. Enjoyed reading about the early history of the motion picture industry. Miss Davies was a true pioneer of that era. Sad that she passed away too soon. Of course, today she wouldn't be here.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 24, 2012
I'm a belated fan of the late Marion Davies. Never heard of her before I got a paperback book o her and her relationship with Randolph Hearst.
I can't condone her life w/a married man but I feel she did alot with her life and she created a Children's Hospital in LA; whih is still there!
God rest her soul.
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on February 19, 2015
Very poor condition. The cover is unhinged and broken. But I enjoyed the biography.
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on December 23, 2014
It's very well researched and easy to red.
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