For almost three decades, Frances Marion was Hollywood’s highest-paid screenwriter (male or female), a pioneer who shaped the nascent art of script writing and whose seemingly boundless imagination yielded some of the most unforgettable words and stories ever put on screen. Like fellow trailblazers Lois Weber, Dorothy Arzner, and Anita Loos, Marion was drawn to Hollywood at a time when women could still carve out a place for themselves in the burgeoning film industry, establishing herself as a hugely successful writer (and occasional director) for her best friend, Mary Pickford. The top screenwriter at MGM during the late 1920s and early 1930s, Marion penned classics like THE WIND, ANNA CHRISTIE, THE BIG HOUSE, THE CHAMP, MIN AND BILL, and DINNER AT EIGHT for stars such as Lillian Gish, Greta Garbo, Marie Dressler, Wallace Beery, and Jean Harlow, along the way becoming the first writer to win two Academy Awards. While her remarkable versatility meant that she could move easily between acclaimed literary adaptations, sparkling comedies, and gritty crime dramas, Marion’s piercing insight into human nature transcends genre and makes her work uniquely timeless.
Directed by Henry King • 1925 • United States
Starring Ronald Colman, Belle Bennett, Alice Joye
One of the silent era’s most popular and moving melodramas, the beautifully mounted original screen version of Olive Higgins Prouty’s oft-filmed novel was adapted by Frances Marion and produced by Sam...
Directed by Henry King • 1926 • United States
Starring Ronald Colman, Vilma Bánky, Gary Cooper
Gary Cooper got his big break with his supporting role in this hugely popular silent western. While rancher Jefferson Worth (Charles Lane) teams with a big-city developer on a grand plan to irrigate th...
Directed by King Vidor • 1931 • United States
Starring Wallace Beery, Jackie Cooper, Irene Rich
Wallace Beery won an Academy Award and Jackie Cooper was launched to stardom for their indelible portrayals of a broken-down prizefighter and his devoted son in this deeply moving, unabashedly sentime...
Directed by King Vidor • 1932 • United States
Starring Ronald Colman, Kay Francis, Phyllis Barry
While his wife Clemency (the ever-glamorous Kay Francis) is away in Venice, staid, supposedly content British barrister Jim Warlock (Ronald Colman) has his life turned upside down by an idyllic affai...
Without Lying Down: Frances Marion and the Power of Women in Hollywood
Directed by Bridget Terry • 2000 • United States
From 1915 to 1939, Frances Marion was one of the most powerful talents in the movie industry. In one of the most liberating eras for women in film, she wrote more than two hundred movies and was the world's highest paid screenwriter—man or woman. ...