New Movies -
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Old Movies -
Touki Bouki: The Journey of the Hyena
The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry
Recap: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 , 2005, 2006, 2007 , 2008 , 2009 , 2010 , 2011 , 2012
Show People (King Vidor, 1928)
Anchoring the movie is Marion Davies, whose performance is knowing (Peggy even spots Davies at one point) and likeable. There is a humorous demonstration of Peggy’s lackluster acting abilities when she first arrives at the studio, and the joke here is that she’s so inadequate as an actress that she is more suited for comedy than drama (to invoke tears, the stagehands have to cut onions and play a violin). Davies doesn’t exactly show a great deal of range, but she effortlessly carries the film, lending Peggy enough of a character arc that the story never feels like a cobbled together series of skits. Her performance is bolstered by a number of terrific star cameos from the likes of Charlie Chaplin, John Gilbert, Douglas Fairbanks, Norma Talmadge and director King Vidor himself. It probably could be argued that Hollywood never self-promotes as vigorously as when it turns the camera upon itself, even if the intended effect is satire. Show People’s doubled insistence that anyone can become a star and that movie stars have to work hard to be successful are undoubtedly self-serving, but these messages are tied to a familiar rise to fame narrative that functions here almost as well as it ever has. Show People is a classic of its type, certainly more entertaining than The Artist, which recycled the same material to considerably diminished effect.