Cinema Murder (1920)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Drama  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Marion Davies' fifth feature film had the mark of William Randolph Hearst all over it. It was produced by his production company, adapted from an E. Phillips Oppenheim story that appeared in Cosmopolitan magazine (a Hearst publication), and it gave Davies (who was Hearst's longtime mistress) every chance to look beautiful and wear lovely clothes, but practically no chance for her to show off any possible acting talent (it was discovered later in her career that she did have a great comic flare). Aspiring actress Elizabeth Dalston (Davies) has been sent abroad by rich financier Synvanus Power (Anders Randolph) so that she can become educated. On the way to the ship that will take her back to New York, she witnesses a fight between two brothers, Philip Romilly (Nigel Barrie) and Douglas Romilly (W. Scott Moore). From what she can tell, Philip kills Douglas. Later, on the steamer, she meets Philip and discovers that he's an up-and-coming playwright. She gets Power to produce a play of his, with her as the star. It's a huge success, and Philip declares his love for Elizabeth, who has justified the killing in her mind as self defense. That same night, Powers, who is married, unsuccessfully propositions Elizabeth. Scotland Yard finally tracks Philip down, but then it is discovered that Douglas wasn't killed after all. He reappears, thus clearing Philip, and he is free to be with Elizabeth, while Power is stuck with his wife. Conway Tearle was originally supposed to play the part of Philip, but when he refused to do any retakes, Hearst fired him from the film and re-shot his scenes with Barrie instead.