Marian Marsh and John Barrymore - “Svengali” (1931)
Despite appearances in 30 short films starring James Gleason and a small part in Hell’s Angels (1930), Marian’s career seemed headed to oblivion when she won the role of her life in Svengali(1931), Warners’ film remake of George Du Maurier’s 1894 novel “Trilby”; the tragic tale of an artists’ model who becomes a great singing diva under the hypnotic tutelage of the malevolent Svengali (charismatically portrayed by John Barrymore). According to Miss Marsh, she was tested for the plum role several times before being selected by Barrymore, apparently because she resembled his wife, Dolores Costello.
The immense critical and financial success of the film combined with young Miss Marsh’s rave reviews to raise her Hollywood stock. Selected as one of the WAMPAS Baby Stars of 1931, she became one of filmdom’s top up-and-coming actresses.
Richard Cromwell, October 17th birthday girl Marian Marsh and a simian friend see, speak and hear no evil - 1935
Happy Birthday, Marian Marsh (October 17th, 1913 - November 9th, 2006)
“She (Jean, Marian’s Sister) was determined that I should crash the studio gates, and with that end in view, spent weeks haunting casting offices, telling them all about ‘little sister,’ even forgetting her own career. I finally did get a chance to make a test at Pathe. We waited for six hours before I received any attention. My makeup had to be done over and my hair dressed. When the big moment arrived, I was so tired, I really didn’t care whether I stepped before the camera or not. The director, supervising the test, told me to cry-it was exactly what I wanted to do. I cried all over the place, and he thought it was great acting. I got the contract.”
Much love to you - I hope to update this Tumblr more regularly - I ran out of new images for the lovely Miss Marsh awhile ago, and haven’t been able to post much of late - but I’m keeping my fingers crossed I can sleuth out some new things and share them with you. xoxo
Marian Marsh and a snazzy car - c. late 1920s/early 1930s
Marian Marsh - Portrait c. 1930s
Marian Marsh in a very fancy and feathery hat - c. 1930s
Marian Marsh - c. 1930s
Peter Lorre & Marian Marsh, Crime and Punishment, Josef von Sternberg, 1935.
Excerpt from a love letter written to Marian Marsh by actor Edmund Lowe in the mid 1930’s
(Ordinarily I think these things are far too personal to share on the internet, but the words are so lovely and fitting for her, I had to make an exception).
Marian Marsh with Henry Wilcoxon in Prison Nurse (1938)
Marian Marsh - c. 1930s
Marian Marsh with Ramon Novarro and Margaret Tallichet - Publicity Photo for A Desperate Adventure - (1938)