MARY MILES MINTER

Open, general discussion of silent films, personalities and history.
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Bob Birchard

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PostTue Jul 13, 2010 11:36 am

barafan wrote: Well, apologies for coming in very late to this thread. My own 2 cents:
I do have to disagree about A Cast of Killers - I like the book, despite its mistakes. But I think A Deed of Death is the single most boring book ever written about the Taylor case. I can barely keep my eyes open typing the title!


Have you read Charles Higham's book on the case?
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barafan

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PostTue Jul 13, 2010 1:20 pm

Yes, I did, a couple of years back. And I remember being disappointed, as well as aggravated by typos and (from what I recall) what I considered unsupported findings (Sands was the body found in CT, Burton Fitts kiled himself with Shelby's gun and so on). Higham is a good writer and I had high hopes for the book, but you know what they say about high hopes. I've got the house to myself this weekend, so perhaps I'll pull it off the shelf and try again.

BTW, have you read Famous Players: William Desmond Taylor by Rick Geary? It's a cartoon retelling of the Taylor case, using Kirkpatrick, Giroux and Higham's books.
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CoffeeDan

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PostTue Jul 13, 2010 2:58 pm

rudyfan wrote:[In my case, all one has to do is read her "Life Story of The Sheik" about Rudolph Valentino written in 1929 to know she was full of it, way back then. Natural talent for BS (I'll conjecture she got it from her father who was an attorney) that and the fact she outlived almost everyone else. :D


I read Adela R. St. Johns' story on Valentino as it was serialized in Liberty in 1929. After the first installment about Valentino's early life appeared, the magazine was swamped with letters from readers and people who knew Valentino on the numerous errors in the story -- almost two pages' worth of letters in one issue. When the series was reprinted in Liberty in 1974, the whole first installment was omitted.

Over the years, I've leaned on St. Johns' writings in my own research, but I've learned to use them sparingly and carefully because they're not always accurate. One thing I have noticed in my efforts to double-source her material is that she tends to be more accurate with people she knew socially, and less so when she was distanced from her subject, as with Valentino. As an example, she wrote a four-part series on Marie Dressler for Liberty in 1933, much of which I was able to verify in other sources. In the course of my research, I found that Dressler had rented a house from St. Johns at that time, and the series might have come out of that landlord-tenant relationship.
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Frederica

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PostTue Jul 13, 2010 3:40 pm

CoffeeDan wrote:Over the years, I've leaned on St. Johns' writings in my own research, but I've learned to use them sparingly and carefully because they're not always accurate.


You are a very patient soul! I tossed her right out the window years ago. Entertaining old bag she certainly was, but I pretty much live by "If Adela Rogers St. Johns said it, it must be horse manure." Interesting about the Dressler connection, though. But I'd rather not bother with her, especially if there's other source material available. She really had an unparalleled handle on the romance and color of the period, although what she's saying is usually hooey. I ask you, who cannot enjoy the wax statue of Valentino story? Don't know if that started with her, I suspect not, but she jumped on the bandwagon quickly enough.
Fred
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Dana

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PostFri Jul 16, 2010 11:46 pm

Well now that everyone has solved the murder and the topic has run its course is anyone interested in discussing Mary's career, sans WDT?
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FrankFay

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PostFri Jul 16, 2010 11:58 pm

I think it hadn't been for the WDT case, she'd have been just another pretty face. If her career had matured a bit she'd have probably been another Mary Philbin. Still, it's hard for the average viewer to assess Mintrer, so little survives and even less is in circulation. Even Theda Bara's surviving films have better circulation.
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Dana

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PostSat Jul 17, 2010 9:33 am

That IS the problem. So little of her work is available. I've seen only six of her films and hope to see more but I'll need to travel to Europe to do it. I firmly believe she was more than just a pretty face and it's too bad that her career was cluttered by outside circumstances.
Remember that she chose to wrap up her career at 21. I'd be very interested to know of an actress who achieved more by that age, omitting Shirley Temple.
Here's an abstract thought. She shares similarities with other, somewhat more contemporary, child stars like Ann Margaret or Sandra Dee.
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salus

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PostSat Jul 17, 2010 3:26 pm

She must have been a pretty good actress if Mary Pickford told Adolph zukor to sign her at Paramount to replace her. And she did recieve a huge contract.She does look somewhat like Mary. What really separates some actresses from others is that they get to act in the big film .....Mary Philbin in Phantom of the Opera, Patsy Ruth Miller in The Hunchback of Notre Dame etc etc etc. Mary meanwhile because of the William Desmond Taylor murder gets infamy as her lot, but would Fatty Arbuckle be as well known without the rape trial, i doubt it. John Bunny was an earlier version of Arbuckle but nobody remembers him. In reality to the general public at large perhaps only 4 are really known Chaplin, Pickford, Gish and Keaton......other giants such as Talmadge, Harold Lloyd, Negri, Murray, Haines , Barthelemiss, Dove,Normand are known by film buffs...............P.S.----OK i fogot Swanson but Sunset Blvd really made her legendary.
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Rick Lanham

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PostSat Jul 17, 2010 3:46 pm

salus wrote:...but would Fatty Arbuckle be as well known without the rape trial, i doubt it. John Bunny was an earlier version of Arbuckle but nobody remembers him.


But Roscoe Arbuckle is a different case. His career was cut off before he could show us more. He might have progressed similar to the way Chaplin, Keaton, and Lloyd did. I've also read that he had a wonderful singing voice. He might have used that in early "talkies."

If any of their careers had ended prematurely, they "would not be as well known" today.
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FrankFay

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PostSat Jul 17, 2010 4:28 pm

Continuing in the talkies was not an unmixed blessing. Harold Lloyd's early talkies were financial successes but seen today they are weak pictures. He did improve but was aging out of his screen character and was unsuccessful or unwilling to expand into other roles (I think he'd have made an excellent shifty villain) though with his wealth he had little pressure to continue working.

Richard Barthelmess also grew out of his character, and didn't have the best talkie voice though he learned to use it. He DID learn to expand his range and play something besides the hero and did well enough.
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salus

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PostSat Jul 17, 2010 5:45 pm

Would Paramount have offered Mary a renewal of her contract in 1922 if there had been no murder.? I wonder if she would have at least like the rest of the silent stars have lived out the rest of the silent era and retired when sound hit. By 1930 she still would have been only 28. Look at the Paramount films (the big hits) from 1922-1930 would Mary have been put in any? And if she continued into the sound era how long would she have gone are their roles in the 1930s she could have played well. I know its all speculation , just a little fun. I see her as one of the Little Women in talkies
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salus

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PostSat Jul 17, 2010 5:50 pm

Remember Mary had a strong voice you can tell from her 1970 audio and she had appeared on Broadway so you cant say her voice didnt work. I also believe without the murder she wouldn't have had the guts to ditch her mom and career and would have continued, the murder strangely gave her the way to escape from her stage moms control, with speculation that she (Charlotte) might be the murderer i doubt that she wasnt unhappy that Mary was leaving the spotlight, of course she didn't know her two daughters would keep her in court for years.
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salus

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PostWed Jul 21, 2010 5:41 pm

To me its amazing that the film historians didnt do complete film interviews on tape and film of the stars of the silent era. Was it Brownlow in 1980 that did the first.
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FrankFay

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PostWed Jul 21, 2010 6:48 pm

Remember that back in the 1950's the Silent Era was something that had happened only 30 or so years in the past. People weren't writing much about it because the general public wasn't interested- lots of people still remembered it.
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Brooksie

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PostWed Jul 21, 2010 11:41 pm

FrankFay wrote:Remember that back in the 1950's the Silent Era was something that had happened only 30 or so years in the past. People weren't writing much about it because the general public wasn't interested- lots of people still remembered it.


Joe Franklin's `Classics of the Silent Screen' would have to be one of the earliest popular books on silent film (and a very readable book it is, too).

It's so old that his parting thought is that when his children are old, no doubt people will consider the humdrum stars of today, such as Marilyn Monroe, the epitome of vintage glamour.
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silentfilm

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PostThu Jul 22, 2010 6:41 am

Joe Franklin's Classics of the Silent Screen was ghostwritten by William K. Everson.
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SSACABS

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Re: MARY MILES MINTER

PostWed Mar 07, 2018 10:19 pm

First post.
8 years late to the thread.

What would MMM's career trajectory been had she continued in films is just complete speculation. But as far as her looks at 21 go, I have what I think is an amusing story.

In the late 1990s I had read Cast of Killers and then became engrossed in Taylorology, and was fascinated by MMM. There was one publicity still of her that I thought was particularly attractive, so I copied it from online and printed out a copy on regular office paper and taped it to my wall along with a couple of other photos.

I worked in a large PR company and co-workers and other people would drop in my office.

Literally at least a dozen times, people would sit down in my office, look at the picture of MMM and they asked me, "Is that your girlfriend?" (My future wife would not have wanted me pinning her photo on a wall like some WWII G.I. in a barrack.) Visitors never asked or commented about the New Yorker cartoons taped on the wall or why there was also a picture of Boston Bruins winger Cam Neely or who he was.

I always laughed when I told them no that's not my girlfriend, and they were looking at a photo of a woman taken about 75 years ago. A lot of people didn't believe me, because the picture looked so "modern." For those who were interested I would tell the story of who she was.

It proved one thing to me. In certain photographs, especially the one on my wall where she looked incredibly pretty, Minter had a very contemporary look ---at least for the 1990s!
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salus

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Re: MARY MILES MINTER

PostThu Mar 08, 2018 11:52 pm

Yes Mary Miles Minter was a pretty version of Mary Pickford.
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maliejandra

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Re: MARY MILES MINTER

PostFri Mar 09, 2018 6:53 am

What, Mary Pickford isn't pretty?
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busby1959

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Re: MARY MILES MINTER

PostFri Mar 09, 2018 12:09 pm

maliejandra wrote:What, Mary Pickford isn't pretty?



I caught that as well. Mary Pickford was beautiful.
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Javier

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Re: MARY MILES MINTER

PostFri Mar 09, 2018 10:10 pm

maliejandra wrote:What, Mary Pickford isn't pretty?


Many years ago I read about the Mary Miles Minter case surrounding the William Desmond Taylor murder. Now leaving that aside, for what I have seen of her surviving films, she was a capable Actor but, Mary Pickford was way more talented than Ms. Minter (just my opinion) perhaps if more of her films would circulate and given a proper release on video, modern audiences can have a glimpse as to why she was so popular back then. And us, as lovers of silent films probably give her credit for what she left on celluloid, but that yet...remains to be seen.

Good Book to read: Mary Pickford; The Woman Who made Hollywood by Eileen Whitfield (1997)
"it's a Kafka high, you feel like a bug"
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salus

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Re: MARY MILES MINTER

PostSat Mar 10, 2018 11:36 pm

As with John F. Kennedy , the murder of William Desmond Taylor that Mary miles minter was caught up in , will always keep her a part of Film History,those whodunnits keep the public interested. I believe Adolph Zukor founder of Paramount Pictures signed Mary Miles Minter as a replacement for Mary Pickford when she left him. And Mary Pickford recommended Minter to him , so she must have had some talent.
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FrankFay

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Re: MARY MILES MINTER

PostSun Mar 11, 2018 5:34 am

salus wrote: I believe Adolph Zukor founder of Paramount Pictures signed Mary Miles Minter as a replacement for Mary Pickford when she left him. And Mary Pickford recommended Minter to him , so she must have had some talent.


Some talent, yes - but Mary wouldn't have recommended an actress likely to eclipse her. If "Nurse Marjorie" is typical, she was considerably more tame.
Eric Stott
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