11 February 2001 | bobbyatgloss
Lamentably bad with no treats for Mary Miles Minter fans
Do NOT watch this movie if your goal is to get a glimpse into the murder of William Desmond Taylor, the life of Mary Miles Minter or anything authentic about the silent days of filmmaking.
Keith Coogan plays a rock video director who purchases the home of William Desmond Taylor. Upon finding old reels of film and playing them on an ancient projector, he becomes subject to visits from the film stars on the reels. Mary Miles Minter, Wallace Reid, Fatty Arbuckle, Mary Pickford, Mabel Normand and Billy Baldwin (supposed to be Charlie Chaplin, but I guess they couldn't use his name) all appear in his house while their films are playing.
NONE of the actors playing these characters even remotely resemble the stars of the 20's. Sean Young as Mary Miles Minter has an incredibly short hairdo and nothing of the MMM demeanor. An early scene shows her as a flapper doing the Charleston on the wing of Wally Reid's plane. Ummm... excuse me, but wasn't Mary Miles Minter the long curly-haired girl-woman who was close to Mary Pickford in her roles and public persona? Obviously there was no character research done at all for the personalities represented in this film.
There is one scene wherein the movie star characters confront Mary Miles Minter's mother (Charlotte Shelby) and hurl accusations that she was the killer of William Desmond Taylor. It is all paint-by-numbers, nothing new is revealed or explored and it seems like a gratuitous insertion to placate viewers who may be curious about MMM and the death of William Desmond Taylor.
Keith Coogan is deplorable. His acting is rote, his unappealing physique is bared too often and his character is bereft of any form of reality. Sean Young is sleepwalking. Diane Ladd provides the only glimpse of talent playing Mabel Normand; much too old for the role, but at least they got the wig right. Steven Railsback as William Desmond Taylor is miscast, affected and given the tiniest amount of screen time. Sally Kirkland plays Keith's agent/sex-toy and does a pretty good job but is wasted with this awful script and premise.
For those fans of gratuitous nudity ... YES there are plenty of shots of Sally Kirkland's implants in addition to breast shots of Sean Young. Apparently Keith Coogan is such an irresistable stud that these attractive woman MUST unclothe for him. Yawn.