Young Diana (1922)

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Although William Randolph Hearst had been financing the motion pictures for his mistress Marion Davies for several years, most of them had moderate budgets -- until around the time this picture was made. According to Davies' biographer, Fred Guiles, she was so overwhelmed by its lush settings and costumes that she found it hard to tackle her role which, in any case, would have been demanding. Mr. May (Maclyn Arbuckle) wants his daughter Diana (Davies) to marry into society. The man he wishes her to wed is a scientist, Dr. Dimitrius (Pedro de Cordoba), but Diana is in love with an officer, Commander Cleeve (Forrest Stanley). At a party the night before she and Cleeve are to marry, she sees him leaving the house with Lady Anna (Gypsy O'Brien). Diana faints and the rest of the picture is her dream: Twenty years have passed and she is a dried up old spinster. She travels to Switzerland where Dr. Dimitrius is working on experiments. He is able to restore Diana's youth and beauty. Nevertheless, this does not bring back her happiness, as she discovers when she runs into her lover from years past. When she wakes up, Cleeve has a perfectly good reason for leaving the house, and the couple go ahead with their wedding. In spite of her shaky performance here, Davies -- to this day still a woefully underappreciated comedian -- adapted to Hearst's higher budgets, as proved the next year with the release of Little Old New York.

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Keywords

aristocracy, dream, faint, fantasy, marriage, marriage-arranged, reality