Colonel Pepper brings his daughter, Peggy, to Hollywood from Georgia to be an actress. There she meets Billy who gets her work at Comet Studio doing comedies with him. But Peggy is discovered by High Art Studio and she leaves Billy and Comet to work there. For her new image, she is now Patricia Pepoire and ignores Billy when he sees her on location. When she is not longer wanted by the little people who do not understand "ART", she plans to marry Andre to get a fake title. Billy will not let her go without a fight.Written by
Tony Fontana <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Back in the day if Marion Davies had had her druthers and didn't just listen to William Randolph Hearst, she'd have done more films like Show People and been a lot happier. In fact when you see her get her first big break in two reel comedy, she'd have loved to have done that in her career instead of such epics like When Knighthood Was In Flower and Janice Meredith.
What you're seeing by all accounts in Show People is the real Davies, a gifted comedienne, a superb mimic and a generous good hearted person. She could really identify with the character of Peggy Pepper aka Patricia Prepoire, she put up with her share of pretense in her Hollywood stardom.
If the plot of Show People was set in the legitimate stage you would call it a backstage story. I guess it being one of the first movies about the movies you could call it a behind the camera story. Marion is eager young hopeful who arrives in Hollywood like so many others, looking for that big break. She wants to drama, but her introduction to the movies is as the foil for the burlesque comics. She gets her share of pie and seltzer in the face, but learns her trade. And also wins the heart of young comic actor William Haines.
She does get her first big break, but it doesn't come for Haines as well and Marion does get to do legitimate drama with actor Paul Ralli, playing Andre Telfair, a pretend no account Count of Avignon. Somebody here was taking a shot at actor Lou Tellegen, lover and husband of Sarah Bernhardt and Geraldine Farrar and others and to hear tell of it, one of the most despised people in cinema.
Show People was one of the first films to have the unbilled cameo appearances of stars as themselves. You will get to see folks like Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, William S. Hart, Mae Murray, John Gilbert, Eleanor Boardman etc., just being themselves in and around the film colony. That in itself makes Show People a film worth saving.
Show People also made good use of standard Tin Pan Alley songs like, Ain't We Got Fun, I'm Sitting On Top Of The World, You'd Be Surprised, California, Here I Come. As the film came out on the cusp of sound being introduced, a song called Crossroads was introduced in it. It's not a bad number, but no credit is given to the boy and girl singing it in the soundtrack. I guess since they're not seen, it was felt no billing was necessary. Still I'd like to know and I'm sure you would to if you are fortunate enough to see Show People.
It's easy to see why Marion Davies liked this film so much and considered it a personal favorite. She looks so at home in this film and her real life lack of pretense shines through in her performance which makes it a real treat for the audience.
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