Frances Marion


Screenwriter

About

Also Known As
Marion Benson Owens
Birth Place
San Francisco, California, USA
Born
November 18, 1888
Died
May 12, 1973
Cause of Death
Aneurysm

Biography

Wrote, co-wrote or adapted some 150 screenplays from 1915 to 1939, leaving a significant stamp on American movies of both the silent and sound eras. A former journalist (she was one of the first female war correspondents), Marion entered films as an actress and made the transition to writer in 1915. She scripted vehicles for Mary Pickford and Marion Davies, among others, and was especial...

Family & Companions

Wesley de Lappe
Husband
Artist, journalist. Married on October 21, 1906; divorced in 1911.
Robert Dickson Pike
Husband
Businessman. Married on November 14, 1911; he filed for divorce on August 21, 1917 on grounds of desertion; divorce granted in November 1917.
Fred Thomson
Husband
Actor. Third husband: married from November 2, 1919 until his death in December 1928; Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks were witnesses at their marriage ceremony held at the Judson Memorial Church in NYC.
George Hill
Husband
Director. Fourth husband, married 1930-31.

Bibliography

"Without Lying Down: Frances Marion and the Powerful Women of Early Hollywood"
Cari Beauchamp, Scribner (1997)
"How to Write and Sell Film Scripts"
Frances Marion, Garland Publishing (1937)

Biography

Wrote, co-wrote or adapted some 150 screenplays from 1915 to 1939, leaving a significant stamp on American movies of both the silent and sound eras. A former journalist (she was one of the first female war correspondents), Marion entered films as an actress and made the transition to writer in 1915. She scripted vehicles for Mary Pickford and Marion Davies, among others, and was especially adept at literary adaptations; the scripts for "Stella Dallas" and "The Scarlet Letter" (both 1926) are superb examples of book-to-film restructuring. In the early 1920s Marion directed three films from her own scripts. Her third husband, from 1919 to his death in 1928, was actor Fred Thomson; her fourth, from 1930 until their divorce the following year, was director George Hill.

Filmography

 

Director (Feature Film)

The Song of Love (1923)
Director
The Love Light (1921)
Director
Just Around the Corner (1921)
Director

Cast (Feature Film)

Little Lord Fauntleroy (1921)
Her son, the pretender
A Girl of Yesterday (1915)
Rosanna Danford

Writer (Feature Film)

Dinner At Eight (1989)
From Story
The Champ (1979)
Story By
The Champ (1979)
From Story
The Clown (1953)
Story
Green Hell (1940)
Story and Screenplay
Northwest Passage (Book I--Rogers' Rangers) (1940)
Contract Writer
Love from a Stranger (1937)
Screenplay and dial
The Good Earth (1937)
Contr to Screenplay const
Knight Without Armor (1937)
Adaptation
Jericho (1937)
Screenwriter
Riffraff (1936)
Screenwriter
Camille (1936)
Screenwriter
Riffraff (1936)
Original Story
Dinner at Eight (1934)
Screenwriter
Secrets (1933)
Wrt for Screenplay by
Going Hollywood (1933)
Story
Peg O' My Heart (1933)
Adaptation
The Prizefighter and the Lady (1933)
Story
Blondie of the Follies (1932)
Story
Emma (1932)
Story
Cynara (1932)
Adaptation
Soyons gais (1931)
Scénario et dialogue [Screenplay and dial]
La fruta amarga (1931)
Escenificación y diálogo por [Screenplay and dial]
The Secret Six (1931)
Story and dial
The Champ (1931)
Screenwriter
El presidio (1930)
Argumento [Story]
Wu Li Chang (1930)
Adaptación cinematográfica de [Scr]
The Rogue Song (1930)
Screenwriter
Let Us Be Gay (1930)
Cont
Min and Bill (1930)
Scen
Anna Christie (1930)
Adaptation
Good News (1930)
Screenwriter
The Big House (1930)
Story and dial
Min and Bill (1930)
Dial
Let Us Be Gay (1930)
Dial
Their Own Desire (1929)
Screenwriter
Excess Baggage (1928)
Cont
The Cossacks (1928)
Adaptation
The Wind (1928)
Scen
Bringing Up Father (1928)
Cont
The Cossacks (1928)
Cont
The Masks of the Devil (1928)
Cont
The Awakening (1928)
Story
The Scarlet Letter (1927)
Scen
The Callahans and the Murphys (1927)
Scen
The Red Mill (1927)
Scen
The Red Mill (1927)
Adaptation
The Scarlet Letter (1927)
Adaptation
Love (1927)
Cont
The Scarlet Letter (1927)
Art titles
The Son of the Sheik (1926)
Adaptation
Partners Again (1926)
Adaptation
The Winning of Barbara Worth (1926)
Adaptation
The First Year (1926)
Scen
Paris at Midnight (1926)
Adaptation
Thank You (1925)
Scen
The Lady (1925)
Screenwriter
Lightnin' (1925)
Scen
His Supreme Moment (1925)
Adaptation
Simon the Jester (1925)
Adaptation
A Thief in Paradise (1925)
Adaptation
Graustark (1925)
Adaptation
Lazybones (1925)
Scen
The Dark Angel (1925)
Scen
Zander The Great (1925)
Adaptation
Stella Dallas (1925)
Adaptation
In Hollywood With Potash and Perlmutter (1924)
Adaptation
Tarnish (1924)
Scen
Secrets (1924)
Adaptation
Through the Dark (1924)
Scen
Cytherea (1924)
Adaptation
Abraham Lincoln (1924)
Scen
Sundown (1924)
Scen
Potash and Perlmutter (1923)
Scen
The Love Piker (1923)
Scen
The Voice from the Minaret (1923)
Adaptation
Within the Law (1923)
Adaptation
The Song of Love (1923)
Adaptation
The Toll of the Sea (1923)
Story
The Famous Mrs. Fair (1923)
Scen
The French Doll (1923)
Adaptation
The Nth Commandment (1923)
Scen
The Famous Mrs. Fair (1923)
Adaptation
Back Pay (1922)
Scen
Sonny (1922)
Adaptation
The Primitive Lover (1922)
Scen
The Eternal Flame (1922)
Adaptation
East Is West (1922)
Scen and Adapted
Minnie (1922)
Titles
Straight Is the Way (1921)
Scen
The Love Light (1921)
Writer
Just Around the Corner (1921)
Adaptation
Humoresque (1920)
Scen
The Flapper (1920)
Scen
The Flapper (1920)
Story
Pollyanna (1920)
Scen
The World and His Wife (1920)
Scen
Anne of Green Gables (1919)
Scen
A Regular Girl (1919)
Scen
The Misleading Widow (1919)
Scen
The Cinema Murder (1919)
Scen
The Dark Star (1919)
Scen
Captain Kidd, Jr. (1919)
Scen
How Could You, Jean? (1918)
Scen
The Goat (1918)
Scen
Stella Maris (1918)
Scen
The Temple of Dusk (1918)
Story
Amarilly of Clothes-Line Alley (1918)
Adaptation
The City of Dim Faces (1918)
Story and scen
Johanna Enlists (1918)
Scen
He Comes Up Smiling (1918)
Scen
M'liss (1918)
Scen
The Goat (1918)
Story
The Beloved Adventuress (1917)
Scen
The Social Leper (1917)
Scen
As Man Made Her (1917)
Scen
Tillie Wakes Up (1917)
Scen
A Girl's Folly (1917)
Scen
The Web of Desire (1917)
Scen
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1917)
Scen
A Woman Alone (1917)
Scen
The Stolen Paradise (1917)
Scen
The Little Princess (1917)
Scen
The Beloved Adventuress (1917)
Story
The Poor Little Rich Girl (1917)
Scen
A Square Deal (1917)
Scen
The Amazons (1917)
Scen
Forget-Me-Not (1917)
Scen
A Hungry Heart (1917)
Scen
A Girl's Folly (1917)
Story
The Social Highwayman (1916)
Scen
La Vie De Boheme (1916)
Scen
Tangled Fates (1916)
Scen
The Crucial Test (1916)
Scen
The Rise of Susan (1916)
Scen
The Summer Girl (1916)
Scen
The Hidden Scar (1916)
Scen
The Yellow Passport (1916)
Scen
The Foundling (1916)
Scen
The Feast of Life (1916)
Scen
The Gilded Cage (1916)
Scen
Friday the Thirteenth (1916)
Scen
The Battle of Hearts (1916)
Story
The Heart of a Hero (1916)
Scen
A Woman's Way (1916)
Scen
The Revolt (1916)
Scen
Camille (1915)
Scen
The Daughter of the Sea (1915)
Story
The Foundling (1915)
Screenwriter

Producer (Feature Film)

The Nth Commandment (1923)
Supervisor

Life Events

Videos

Movie Clip

Peg O' My Heart (1933) - I'll Remember Only You Irish Peg (Marion Davies, title character) has just found out she’s heiress to an English fortune, and she’s about to travel to collect it but there’s time for a song with the townsfolk, by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed, singers led by Donald Novis, in MGM’s Peg O’ My Heart, 1933.
Peg O' My Heart (1933) - A Cheer And Two Pips English fixer Gerry (Onslow Stevens) persuades rough-hewn Irish heiress Marion Davies (title character) she might as well meet the Chichesters (Irene Browne, Tyrrell Davis and Juliette Compton), who (she doesn’t know) are broke and being paid to train her in the ways of society, in Peg O’ My Heart, 1933.
Big House, The (1930) - Mushrooms All Over It Director George Hill capturing more of the remarkable scale of the MGM sets in another famous scene, in the mess hall, Butch (Wallace Beery) sowing discontent, the warden (Lewis Stone) intervening, and new inmate Kent (Robert Montgomery) timidly foiling a plot, in The Big House, 1930.
Big House, The (1930) - You're Too Nice A Kid More of MGM’s massive interior sets, derived partly from writer Frances Marion’s visit to San Quentin, our first trip to the yard with new inmate Kent (Robert Montgomery), with the boys playing what looks like a standard trick, DeWitt Jennings the head screw, in The Big House, 1930.
Big House, The (1930) -- First Time In Prison? Dramatic opening, featuring a model prison, into which Kent (Robert Mongtomery) is incarcerated in convincing manner, from MGM's The Big House , 1930, also starring Wallace Beery and Chester Morris.
Knight Without Armor (1937) - Countess Alexandra Moscow, 1913, the Countess Alexandra (Marlene Dietrich), just returned from a visit to England, is presented to the Czar, whose compliment she then passes along to her betrothed Col. Adraxine (Austin Trevor) in Knight Without Armor, 1937, from a James Hilton novel.
Knight Without Armor (1937) - But She's Only A Woman! 1917, widowed Russian Czarist Countess Alexandra (Marlene Dietrich) awakens to find the servants gone and the estate deserted, and is quick to realize the proletariat has arrived in Alexander Korda's Knight Without Armor, 1937.
Knight Without Armor (1937) - But I Want To Be Shot! The band barely under the command of Russian revolutionary commissar Axelstein (Basil Gill) has no idea his assistant (Robert Donat) is a deep-cover British agent, and he dares not tell the Czarist countess (Marlene Dietrich) whose estate they've seized, in Alexander Korda's Knight Without Armor, 1937.
Knight Without Armor (1937) - British Secret Service Having been given the boot by the Czarist cops in Moscow, British writer Fothergill (Robert Donat) commiserates with friend Stanfield (Frederick Culley), who has an idea, then meets Col. Forrester (Lawrence Hanray), in Alexander Korda's production of Knight Without Armor, 1937.
Knight Without Armor (1937) - Opening, Ascot 1913 Opening title sequence to Alexander Korda's production of Knight Without Armor, 1937, leads to the principals, Countess Alexandra (Marlene Dietrich) and Fothergill (Robert Donat) not meeting at the races at Ascot.
Secret Six, The (1931) - I Ain't Got The Jack Novice gangster Louis (Wallace Beery), follows the lead from Johnny (Ralph Bellamy), putting the squeeze on a bar owner (Hector Sarno) when rival Eddie (Louis Natheaux) arrives, and MGM looks like Warner Bros., in The Secret Six, 1931, featuring Clark Gable and Jean Harlow.
Secret Six, The (1931) - She's A Good Worker Rising gang moll Anne (Jean Harlow) sweet talking reporters Hank (John Mack Brown) and Carl (Clark Gable), on behalf of mobster Louis "Slaughterhouse" Scorpio (Wallace Beery), who's in the process of getting cleared of bumping off a rival, in MGM's The Secret Six, 1931.

Trailer

Family

Len Douglas Owens
Father
Businessman. Married Marion's mother in 1884; divorced in 1898; remarried.
Minnie Benson Hall
Mother
Married Marion's father in 1884; divorced in 1898.
Isabel Preston
Step-Mother
Married Marion's father in June 1901.
Maude Owens
Sister
Born in February 1886.
Len Douglas Owens Jr
Brother
Born in May 1890.
Edgar Owens
Half-Brother
Born in 1902.
Francis Owens
Half-Brother
Born in 1903.
Frederick Clifton Thomson Jr
Son
Professor of English Literature. Born on December 8, 1926; died in 1992.
Richard Gordon Thomson
Son
Born in October 1927; adopted with Fred Thomson; survived her.
Fred Clifton Thomson III
Grandson
Born in December 1948; survived her.

Companions

Wesley de Lappe
Husband
Artist, journalist. Married on October 21, 1906; divorced in 1911.
Robert Dickson Pike
Husband
Businessman. Married on November 14, 1911; he filed for divorce on August 21, 1917 on grounds of desertion; divorce granted in November 1917.
Fred Thomson
Husband
Actor. Third husband: married from November 2, 1919 until his death in December 1928; Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks were witnesses at their marriage ceremony held at the Judson Memorial Church in NYC.
George Hill
Husband
Director. Fourth husband, married 1930-31.

Bibliography

"Without Lying Down: Frances Marion and the Powerful Women of Early Hollywood"
Cari Beauchamp, Scribner (1997)
"How to Write and Sell Film Scripts"
Frances Marion, Garland Publishing (1937)