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Olive Thomas: Everybody's Sweetheart (2003)

Olive Thomas: The Most Beautiful Girl in the World (original title)
Story of the life of silent-screen actress Olive Thomas, the wife of Jack Pickford and a former Ziegfeld showgirl. Hailed in her time as one of the most beautiful women in the world, Thomas... See full summary »


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Credited cast:
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Dana Amendola ...
Elaina Archer ...
An Actress
Catheryn Clarke ...
Olive Thomas
Doris Eaton ...
Nora Erhardt ...
Patricia Erhardt ...
John J. Flynn ...
Billy Bitzer (voice)
Eve Golden ...
Keith Lawrence ...
An Actor
Terence Moriarty ...
Bernard Thomas
Hugh Munro Neely ...
Harrison Fisher (voice)
Himself (archive footage)
Daniel Selznick ...


Story of the life of silent-screen actress Olive Thomas, the wife of Jack Pickford and a former Ziegfeld showgirl. Hailed in her time as one of the most beautiful women in the world, Thomas' rising film career was cut short by her tragic, and controversial, death at age 25. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

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Release Date:

25 September 2005 (Hungary)  »

Also Known As:

Olive Thomas: Everybody's Sweetheart  »

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Crazy Credits

After the end credits, there is a short piece of bonus footage of Olive Thomas and a moose's head. See more »

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User Reviews

So beautiful, so young...
28 April 2005 | by (Minffordd, North Wales) – See all my reviews

This documentary begins with the portentous statement that Olive Thomas's ghost haunts the New Amsterdam Theatre in New York City, former site of the Ziegfeld Follies. I knew that Olive Thomas died in France (more about this later), so I took the ghost statement as a figure of speech. It turns out that this documentary means it literally: allegedly, Olive Thomas continues to be spotted at Ziegfeld's theatre despite having died thousands of miles away.

This documentary does a surprisingly impressive job of reconstructing the brief life and career of silent-film actress (and Ziegfeld beauty) Olive Thomas. Surprising, because there's so little material available: none of the people interviewed in this documentary ever knew her, not even 101-year-old Ziegfeld dancer Doris Eaton Travis. A great deal of credibility is given here to distant relations of Thomas who never met her: one talking-head cousin comments that her grandfather insisted that Thomas was murdered, but neglects to mention that her grandfather was a five-year-old boy at the time of the actress's death.

Necessarily, we get the usual lurks here, so often employed in documentaries of this sort. Modern-day actors, their faces kept out of frame, re-enact incidents from Thomas's life. We also see clips from her films, showing Thomas in character, used here to illustrate the subject's life ... for example, when Thomas's first marriage ends in divorce, the visual is a clip from one of Thomas's films, in which her on-screen character looks mournful. Devices like this are probably necessary: less excusable is the flat dull monotone narration of Rosanna Arquette.

Just occasionally, this documentary grabs the attention ... as when we see a brief clip from early in Thomas's movie career, showing three starlets who were expected to have major careers. Flanked by Thomas and Edna Purviance, the starlet in the middle is Virginia Rappe ... whose notorious death triggered the scandal that destroyed Roscoe Arbuckle's career.

There are some very impressive facts throughout this highly entertaining film, as well as glimpses at some very rare documents ... such as Olive Thomas's death certificate (from a French archive) and the sheet music of a song written for one of her silent films. (Many silents had songs specially written for piano accompaniment in the cinemas.) But we just occasionally get some nonsense here too. The narration tries to persuade us that producer David Selznick took the middle initial 'O' as a tribute to Olive. Wrong: David O. Selznick added his middle initial (which was actually a zero, standing for 'nothing') to distinguish himself from his namesake, a relative whom he despised.

Olive Thomas's death at age 25 remains controversial. After a quarrel with her husband Jack Pickford, she mixed syphilis medication with alcohol and drank it. The official verdict was accidental death: supposedly, she'd mistaken the medicine for a sleeping draught. But nobody would mix a sleeping draught with alcohol unless they were planning to kill somebody. I believe that Olive Thomas's death was intentional suicide. But this documentary succeeds in showing us what a splendid career and life she had before the sudden end. This documentary was financed by Hugh Hefner, who has financed several documentaries about legendary screen actresses. I'll rate this movie 8 out of 10.

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