Frances Marion

Frances Marion – photos and quotes

Posted on Posted in Silent Film Stars, Writers

“I prefer working at home because the studio is such a beehive of activity. And how can they expect a poor scenario writer to plunge into deep and silent study when Rome is burning on the lot across the street; Julian Eltinge, outside your door, is discussing the latest New York fashions with Mary Pickford; and Doug Fairbanks is shooting up a Mexican village not 20 feet from your window! While at home there is nothing to worry about but work – except seeing to the cook’s comforts and keeping in good humor!”Frances Marion

Source: Elizabeth Peltret (1917)

Photo: 1917


Frances Marion 1926“If you expect to write stories pulsing with real life, or put upon canvas compositions that are divinely human – you must go forth and live! Luxuriating at home, learning, parrot-like from books – these are only the first steppingstones, necessary, but not inspirational….Live the lives of the masses, study human nature by rubbing elbows with the people. Go out and work with them, eat with them – dream with them. That is what I have always done. I did. I started out with dramatic seriousness – confident that some day I would become a great authority upon sociological problems. But, like Hashimura Toga, before I mastered the situations I was always fired for incompetency. There were three days spent in a telephone office, for instance. Always impatient with the ‘Hullo Girls,’ I needed but two hours to become a sympathetic admirer. My head throbbed, my ears and arms ached – and no one dreams of how many cross-patches with barbed wire voices there are in a telephone operator’s world. After my ‘You are not suitable for the position’ – I wrote an unpublished volume of ‘life at the switch!’ The next’job’ was in a cannery. It was peach season. Here I thought I would find much and varied color – and I did. Women of all stratas of life were working there – from all nations – and of all colors! To the swish of the peach and click of knife, they talked much – as women will – about themselves, their homes – and their neighbors! All went well, the volume on sociological grew fatter – until one day a peach slipped from my tired hands and ‘Keystoned’ the woman sitting next to me. She was of the Latin race, weighed 300 pounds – and was temperamental! She said that I did it on purpose! Ten minutes later the foreman gave ‘walking papers’ to all that was left of me! As the weeks went by I accepted many positions of interest, and, though I did not plan for it at the time, these varied experiences have been worth their weight in gold to me – especially in the writing of scenarios. For there is no phase of life the screen does not touch upon.”Frances Marion

Source: Elizabeth Peltret (1917)

Photo: 1926

Frances Marion candid“Art is a very cruel master, and there were many days The Colony was forced into a scanty diet of French bread and coffee. But we were happy – because it was Art, you see – and being artists, even if it were painful, we could not abandon our superior disregard for anything so unaesthetic as – food! Our ‘bête noire‘ was our landlord! Three times a day the Unrelenting One would trudge up the Hill and drag us form our hiding places – under the sink! One day, when even my new excuses failed to work their charm, I decided upon the only alternative. I would sacrifice my Art! Keeping it a dark secret from The Colony I accepted a position painting street car signs. While The Colony thought that I was satisfying my soul by sketching eucalyptus trees shadowed in fog, I was really at work paining vermilion tomato cans on lavender backgrounds, or expressing in brilliant hues the charms of the ‘Fifity-seven Varieties.’ And, as I was hungry, those impressions were a good deal more vivid that the more aesthetic impression I had of the windswept hills of Marin County. At the end of the week, with my enormous salary of fifteen dollars, I invited the whole Colony to dinner. I cooked it all myself and what a feast it was! We had big platters of ravioli and spaghetti – and we bought many long loaves of the French bread which can be found nowhere so good as in San Francisco. With it all we had some of San Francisco’s ‘red champagne’ – the kid costing twenty-five cents a gallon! As the meal progressed tongues were loosened – and we all confessed! Starvation had driven us to the slaughter of Art. A painter of prominence was designing fashion plates; a celebrated authoress was writing ‘sob; columns; and one of the greatest illustrators in this country today admitted that he had been working in a Market Street candy store – wrapping chews!”Frances Marion

Source: Elizabeth Peltret (1917)

Photo: Stagg (1917)

Frances Marion“I’ll never forget the moment I first saw myself on the screen. In stalked a tall, gawky girl – whose waving arms looked like two very busy windmills, a stranger who made a few grimaces and then dashed off again. I confided to myself right then that as an actress I was a very good cook!”Frances Marion

Source: Elizabeth Peltret (1917)

Photo: 1915

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Frances marion reclining“I feel a bit under obligation to entertain the secretary who must listen only to my voice – day after day. So, in my eagerness to amuse her, to make less drab the story I am unfolding, I find myself thinking of all sorts of extravagant and amusing situations. In fact, this is the way I often visualize my audiences, for when she smiles, I see a thousand smiles through her’s, and if, perchance, there are a few tears glistening in her eyes, – then I am secretly confident of its pathos.”Frances Marion

Source: Elizabeth Peltret (1917)

Photo: Stagg (1917)


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