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Jealous that her older sister, Grace (Jane Winton), has landed handsomepatsy poster and successful Tony Anderson (Orville Caldwell), Patricia Harrington (Marion Davies) launches an elaborate charm offensive to win his heart. Patricia shrugs off her diffidence and, in the hope that Tony will be drawn to her new persona, tries to carry herself with the self-confidence of the era's silent film stars. When this doesn't have the desired effect, Patricia takes things a step further. Marie Dressler plays Patricia’s mother.

Director: King Vidor
Cast: Marion Davies, Orville Caldwell, Marie Dressler, Lawrence Gray, Dell Henderson, Jane Winton
Run Time:  78min
Genre:  Comedy

Silent.  Accompaniment by Pianist for 2018 - Info here.

Review

Classic Film Guide

Directed by the great King Vidor this Marion Davies silent comedy also stars Marie Dressler in the comeback role credited with keeping the great dame from taking her own life and rejuvenating her career. Reportedly Vidor hadn’t considered “drama queen” Davies appropriate for comedic roles until he got better acquainted with her and her sense of humor socially at William Randolph Hearst’s “castle”. The PatsyThe story itself is rather simple: Davies (in the title role) plays Patricia Harrington the younger sister of glamorous Grace (Jane Winton) who has fallen in love with her older sister’s beau Tony (Orville Caldwell). Patricia’s Ma (Dressler) approves of Grace’s & Tony’s relationship while her Pa (Dell Henderson) supports his youngest daughter’s “ambitions”. Grace seems to want Tony only to keep him away from Patricia since she prefers spending time with the rich playboy Billy Caldwell (Lawrence Gray). Of course Tony not only doesn’t know about Grace’s dates with Billy with whom he’s acquainted but he’s also oblivious to Patricia’s affections if not her existence.

Ma is better bonded with her eldest daughter Grace and tries to keep Patricia from “mooning” (starring lovingly) at Tony when he comes to call. Tony takes Grace to a restaurant where Billy “discovers” her and conspires to “win” her. Later when Tony comes to call he learns Grace has gone off in Billy’s speedboat. He gives chase with Patricia in a rowboat. During their conversation Tony gives Patricia advice – get a “personality” – about how to attract the object of her affection without learning that he is the one for whom she pines. So Patricia reads books picking up a lot of “catch phrases” that make her Ma think she’s gone insane. The PatsyPatricia’s doctor Pa knows the truth but tells his “favorite” daughter to keep up the charade. Tony witnesses “the new” Patricia and combined with Grace’s exploits with Billy begins to see her in a new light. But Ma & Grace will have none of it. In fact Grace exposes the flaw in Patricia’s plans – the fact that there is no other beau for which Tony had given her advice. So Patricia decides that Billy can serve as the needed “third party”.

Perhaps the film’s most memorable scene involves Patricia trying to gain Billy’s affections enough to have Tony come to her rescue. Sound confusing? Well it is … just like Grace’s exposure of Patricia’s plans was. In any case Ms. Davies gets to convincingly imitate several of the silver screen’s personalities while trying to revive the drunken playboy including sweet little Lillian Gish Mae Murray and vamp Pola Negri. Although Patricia’s plan backfires at first with Pa’s help she is able to realize her goal in the end.

 

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