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MGM Files for Bankruptcy + Marion Davies & William Haines 'Show People' on TCM

Marion Davies, Show People
Marion Davies in King Vidor's Show People

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which decades ago was the most financially stable of the Hollywood studios, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Wednesday.

MGM – initially Metro-Goldwyn – was formed through the amalgamation of Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Pictures, and Louis B. Mayer Productions in 1924.

Goldwyn, by then no longer associated with Samuel Goldwyn, was the largest production company of the three, but the out-of-control superspectacle Ben-Hur had badly damaged the studio's already shaken finances.

Louis B. Mayer, initially with the assistance of second-in-command Irving Thalberg, ruled over the MGM fiefdom for more than a quarter of a century, though both Mayer and Thalberg had to answer to Loews, Inc.'s New York office.

In about fifteen minutes Turner Classic Movies viewers will be able to catch a glimpse of the glorious MGM of yore in King Vidor's Show People (1928), a silent comedy classic starring Marion Davies as a not-that-well disguised version of Gloria Swanson and William Haines, best remembered today as the gay actor who, according to legend (or rather, Anita Loos, who came up with some outlandish stories in her books), left Hollywood so he could remain committed to his male lover.

The famous MGM commissary shot features the following stars: the aforementioned Marion Davies, William S. Hart, Douglas Fairbanks, Norma Talmadge, John Gilbert, Mae Murray, Rod La Rocque, Renée Adorée, Leatrice Joy, George K. Arthur, Karl Dane, Aileen Pringle, Claire Windsor, Estelle Taylor, gossip columnist Louella Parsons, Dorothy Sebastian, and Polly Moran.

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