This post is part of the Early Women Filmmakers Blogathon, hosted by Fritzi at Movies Silently (http://moviessilently.com/2017/03/27/the-early-women-filmmakers-blogathon-is-here/). Fritzi says that "It’s time to give these talented women their moment in the sun and the Early Women Filmmakers Blogathon aims to do just that. This is a topic that is dear to my heart and I am just tickled pink to be hosting!"
British actress Beatrice Tanner was billed as Mrs Patrick Campbell for her entire career, which went on for forty years after her husband died in 1900. She was the first person to play Eliza Doolittle in George Bernard Shaw's Pygmallion.
I remember when my mother's credit cards and checks were labelled "Mrs (my father's name)." Those of us who are not royalty have largely abandoned that practice, except for the occasional wedding invitation addressed to "Mr and Mrs (man's name)."
Actress, screenwriter, producer and director Dorothy Davenport was usually billed as Mrs Wallace Reid after her husband died at a tragically young age in 1923. This probably helped to sell the movies she directed, but I will try to avoid calling her Mrs Wallace Reid. Dorothy Davenport deserves her own name.
|Edward Loomis Davenport: A Biography, edited by Edwin Francis Edgett, 1901|
Dorothy Davenport was born into a theatrical family. Her paternal grandparents were Edward Loomis Davenport, who had appeared on stage with Junius Brutus Booth, father of the coward who murdered President Lincoln, and Fanny Vining, a British-born actress. EL died in 1877. Fanny Vining died in 1891. When I went to look up Fanny Vining in Edward Loomis Davenport: A Biography, edited by Edwin Francis Edgett, I found this in the index:
|Shakespeare's Heroines on the Stage, By Charles Edgar Lewis Wingate, 1895|
Their daughter, Fanny Davenport, was a popular leading lady. Here she is costumed to play Cleopatra in the first American production of Victorien Sardou's play, which had been written for Sarah Bernhardt. She died in 1898.
Dorothy's mother, Alice Shepphard Davenport, who was Harry's first wife, appeared in many Keystone comedies including "Making a Living," Charlie Chaplin's first film. She played the mother.
|Moving Picture Magazine, November, 1914|
|Moving Picture News, 07-October-1911|
|Moving Picture News, 28-October-1911|
|Moving Picture News, 06-April-1912|
|Moving Picture World, 16-March-1912|
Dorothy seemed to move around from studio to studio.
|Moving Picture World, 27-July-1912|
Dorothy was back with Nestor by July. "She is much liked by her fellow actors." Harry Edwards later became a director.
Someone cleverly cut out a piece of the 31-August-1912 Moving Picture World which explains that the Nestor lot had become part the Hollywood branch of Universal and that Dorothy was playing leads for a company directed by Milton H. Fahrney. I would like to meet this person and let her or him (probably him) know how grateful I am. Dorothy made many action films where she got to display her ability on horseback.
|Motion Picture Story Magazine, January, 1914|
|Motion Picture News, 08-November-1913|
|Reel Life, 23-January-1915|
|Moving Picture World, 24-June-1916|
|Moving Picture News, 08-July-1916|
|Moving Picture News, 05-August-1916|
|Moving Picture News, 11-November-1916|
|Moving Picture News, 09-December-1916|
|Moving Picture News, 27-January-1917|
Despite the loss of her Saint Bernard puppy, Dot had a fine menagerie of "Spitz dogs and Persian cats," who all got along.
|Moving Picture News, 01-January-1917|
In late 1916, Universal had Dorothy in short subjects that premiered on November 30, December 10 and December 21.
|Moving Picture News, 24-February-1917|
|Photoplay, August, 1917|
Things seemed good at the Reid family home. Wally was said to have a drinking problem, but it didn't interfere with his heavy work schedule.
Wallace Reid, Jr was born on 18-June-1917. "The proud father states that indications point to a career in the vocal rather than the silent drama for the youngster." His adopted sister Betty was born in 1919.
|Photoplay, March, 1919|
"He plays those with too many millions who always, always get the Girl." You can see why they always got the Girl.
|Photoplay, March, 1919|
|Arizona Republican, 06-December-1919|
|Arizona Republican, 15-August-1920|
Wally appeared in eight features in 1919, seven in 1920 and 1921 and eight in 1922. To keep up the grueling pace, studio doctors kept administering larger and larger doses of morphine. Among his most popular films were auto racing comedies like Excuse My Dust.
|Photoplay, January, 1921|
|Motion Picture News, 27-January-1923|
Wallace Reid entered a sanitarium in an attempt to kick his drug habit. He died there on 18-January-1923.
|Photoplay, April, 1923|
Dorothy, billed as Mrs Wallace Reid, acted in and co-produced Human Wreckage. She also co-wrote and co-directed it, but was not billed. The film is believed to be lost.
|Photoplay, June, 1923|
|Educational Screen, September, 1923|
"Mrs. Wallace Reid's anti-narcotic propaganda picture at least indicates sincerity of purpose." "(Strictly adult)"
|Motion Picture Magazine, October, 1923|
"When Mrs. Wallace Reid was in New York for the premiere of her 'Human Wreckage,' we were particularly interested in talking to her. That she is clear in her own mind about her course of action against the traffic of drugs, there can be no slight doubt. And, personally, we feel an admiration for anyone who carries on in the way Mrs. Reid has done.
"At a luncheon at which she spoke, she asked people to consider those menaced by drugs in a different light than we have heretofore considered them. She said to try not to think of them as strange and curious beings but as sick people who can undoubtedly be helped. And she urged that we stop referring to them by such vernacular names as 'dope-fiend,' 'hop-head,' etc.
"She spoke of 'Wally' only once, when she explained that her help to the cause must always be a personal one ; whereupon she went on to explain that ignorance of drug conditions was the real menace and that if she had known a year ago what she knows today her history might have been very different. And surely, if Wally's passing and Mrs. Reid's subsequent anti-narcotic work, including 'Human Wreckage,' lessens the toll of drugs then he continues to serve humanity well, even in death."
|Educational Screen, September, 1925|
Dorothy's next social conscience film was Broken Laws, which was about the bad effects of overindulging children. The film may exist in a Belgian archive.
|Film Daily Yearbook, 1925|
Mrs Wallace Reid Productions advertised in the 1925 Film Daily Yearbook.
|Picture-Play Magazine, February, 1926|
Dorothy's social conscience films established her as a producer/director of sensational subjects.
|Motion Picture Magazine, July, 1926|
I can't find much about her next production, The Satin Woman, also directed by Walter Lang, but it is preserved in an archive.
|Photoplay, May, 1928|
Dorothy Davenport's next directorial effort was The Road to Ruin, which sounds pretty sordid. Apparently this one was sponsored by the juvenile courts.
|Photoplay, February, 1929|
Linda, the story of a girl who married too young, was a silent issued with synchronized music and sound effects.
|Film Daily, 01-March-1933|
|Motion Picture Herald, 24-February-1934|
|Photoplay, March, 1934|
|Film Daily Yearbook, 1940|
Her career continued, writing and producing movies and then television shows until the late 1950s. She was mostly billed as Dorothy Reid. She died in 1977. I am sad to say that I don't remember reading her obituary, if there was one in the San Francisco Chronicle.
|Film Daily Yearbook, 1934|
This post is part of the Early Women Filmmakers Blogathon, hosted by Fritzi at Movies Silently (http://moviessilently.com/2017/03/27/the-early-women-filmmakers-blogathon-is-here/). Thank you to Fritzi for all the hard work. Thank you to everyone who visited and I encourage you to read as many posts as you can, and leave comments. Bloggers love comments.
This post is my second blogathon post of 2017 and my 47th since 2007. This is my 30th blogathon. This page has a list of all my blogathon posts.