The Patsy (1928)So much funnier than Carole Lombard.
The Patsy, directed by King Vidor (a guy I already love for The Big Parade), is a light romantic comedy about a goofy kid sister (Davies) who is in love with her elder sister's boyfriend. The sister (Jane Winton) has her eye on a more devil-may-care playboy, whose fortune their social-climbing mother, the magnificent Marie Dressler, finds very attractive. The usual crazy, mixed up stuff happens and it's no surprise when everyone winds up with who they're supposed to be with; even the parents get a little closer together.
It's a sweet, fairly modern, often hilariously funny film, with every player contributing. Davies (who by all accounts was a very generous actress) insisted that Dressler's funniest bits stay in the picture, and it was The Patsy that revived the 62-year-old actress's flagging career.
I'm now going to ruin one of the funniest bits of business for you. This is the part of the film I had heard about and was kind of bracing myself for: Marion Davies spoofing popular film stars of the day. I wasn't worried so much about her, but the crowd. There are many kinds of lovely, interesting people who attend silent films in this day and age, but there are some who laugh too loud at period jokes, hiss at villains, and titter or boo at outdated depictions of women and non-white people. Davies was So Good at this that all laughter was genuine and raucous. I've never seen Pola Negri on screen, for instance, but after Davies' portrayal I could now pick her out of a vamp lineup in a hearbeat.
Her Lillian Gish will knock your socks off.