Virginia Madsen is an interesting and talented actress...
But she''s no Marion Davies, whom she portrayed in "The Hearst and Davies Affair" a 1985 TV-movie now running on Reelz-TV. It''s on again tonight (11/21) at 8pm EST.\
I''m interested in this period, and find Davies a charming comedienne and Hearst (especially via Welles'' "Kane") a fascinating American powerhouse, but this movie is a bloodless affair.\
Robert Mitchum as Hearst is his usual enjoyably laconic self, but Virgina Madsen lacks the madcap spark that may have been Davies'' most memorable feature.\
But if you''re a fan of early Hollywood, this may be worth a look.
The NY Times was luke-warm, too:
Two fairly ambitious television movies being broadcast this evening, both at 9 o'clock, fall disappointingly flat. ''The Hearst and Davies Affair'' on ABC manages to make what it bills as ''the scandalous love affair between one of the richest and most powerful men in America and the obscure Ziegfeld girl he promoted to stardom'' seem like just another ordinary story about a man and his mistress...
The title characters in the ABC film, produced by Paul Pompian and directed by David Lowell Rich, are, of course, William Randolph Hearst and Marion Davies, or reasonable facsimiles thereof. He is played by Robert Mitchum in his now patented style of bemused detachment. She is portrayed by Virginia Madsen, who does her best to flesh out a sketchy role with endless bits of acting business.
The film opens in 1937 in the California estate of San Simeon (acutally filmed in Canada), which was immortalized in Orson Welles's ''Citizen Kane.'' In financial difficulties, he is telling her that it's the end of the ride and asking her if she wants to get off. She says, ''It's been one terrific ride, Mr. Hearst.'' Although they have known each other for 21 years, she still calls him Mr. Hearst or, simply, W. R.
That is the cue to flash back to 1916 when W. R.'s wooing of the showgirl began in earnest. He is married and the father of five children and, as the 18- year-old Miss Davies quickly learns, there is no way Mrs. Hearst is going to give her 52-year-old husband a divorce. But the affair begins chastely enough with W. R. limiting himself for a long while to a quick kiss on the puzzled Miss Davies's cheek.
But in time things became very serious and, much to the delight of an always curious public, Mr. Hearst not only set Miss Davies up in splendor at San Simeon but bought her a movie studio where, much to her unhappiness, he insisted that she play only young virginal roles.
The story is not uninteresting, but this teleplay - written by Allison Cross and David Solomon - does little but tick off the highlights of their life together. These involved lavish parties and juicy scandals, some involving mysterious deaths. Under Mr. Rich's direction, the film moves along somewhat unsteadily, dragging in a famous name (Charlie Chaplin or Louella Parsons) here, stopping for an occasional confrontation about love and marriage there.
It all dribbles to a predictable end while an announcer assures us that W. R. became a rich man again, thanks to Miss Davies's generosity, and that she was at his bedside when he died in 1951. Two genuinely interesting people, a controversial publisher and an underrated actress, have been reduced to stock characters in a pulp romance.
I think her brother Micheal Madsen was a far better actor. That is until he fucked over his career with to drugs/alcohol.
What happened to that TV show she was on with James David Eliott?
Robert Mitchum is still alive?
How come Hearst was never punished for ginning up a war to sell papers?
Yeah I know it''s bullshit but still
Young madcap Marion was beautifully portrayed by Kirsten Dunst in "The Cat''s Meow", with a terrific Edward Hermann portrayal of Hearst. Great Bogdanovich film that didn''t get the attention it deserved. Eddie Izzard as Chaplin, Joanna Lumley, young hot Cary Elwes, and Jennifer Tilly, who plays Louella Parsons like the moron she really was. All about the murder on Hearst''s yacht that was a big scandal in the 20s.\
And as a guilty pleasure I love Melanie Griffith as the old, boozy Marion in "RKO 281" - she was just so unintentionally hilarious (James Cromwell plays Hearst in that one, about the making of "Citizen Kane" with Liev Schreiber as Orson Welles.)
Doug "Video" Savant
I''ve always wanted to see both RKO 281 and The Cat''s Meow, but instead I saw this stiff. Ah, well, tomorrow is another day.
I love The Cat''s Meow -- very under-rated movie. I forgot that Izzard played Chaplin. He was so good I think I thought it was Chaplin!
She is certainly sexy and a decent actress.
Beautiful eyes and boobs.