The Kickstarter project from March of 2016 to raise funds to restore the 1922 Marion Davies feature film When Knighthood Was in Flower came to a most gratifying conclusion on the first of this month, when I received the Blu-ray/DVD combo that was my reward for tossing a few coins into the guitar case. (There were 317 backers, and a total of $11, 928 was raised; the project’s goal was attained eight hours within its initial Kickstarter posting. Yowsah!) We have silent film accompanist Ben Model (and Undercrank Productions—in association with Greenbriar Picture Shows) to thank for this beautiful restoration; Ben availed himself of a 12-reel 35mm nitrate print of Knighthood’s “road show” release in the collection of the Library of Congress…so if you’re saying to yourself right now “Oh, I saw this already on YouTube” you really haven’t seen it the way silent movies are meant to be seen and enjoyed.
|Lyn Harding, Marion Davies & Forrest Stanley|
The male masquerade of Marion Davies’ Mary isn’t any more convincing that the drag she donned in Little Old New York (1923); she and Charles are quickly rounded up by all the King’s horses and all the King’s men. Charles is to have a date with the executioner…but Mary agrees to marry Louis XII if her brother will spare his life. The scrofulous old fart (Louis) has his card punched when he attempts to behave like the young lover he’s convinced Mary wants and needs…and with the King’s death, his skeevy nephew Francis (William Powell—billed as “William H.”) decides to put the moves on the Widder Tudor. Fortunately for Mary, Charles comes to her rescue…and King Henry VIII provides the obligatory happy ending.
|A title card that produced a hearty guffaw. (Why would she be dressed like a wonton?)|
|Davies & William Norris|
|William (H.) Powell|