Zander the Great

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Zander the Great
Zander the Great 1925 ad.jpg
Ad for film
Directed by George W. Hill
Produced by William Randolph Hearst
Written by Frances Marion
Based on Zander the Great
by Edward Salisbury Field
Starring Marion Davies
Emily Fitzroy
Hedda Hopper
Music by Victor Schertzinger
Cinematography George Barnes
Harold Wenstrom
Edited by W. Donn Hayes
James C. McKay
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • May 2, 1925 (1925-05-02)
Running time
80 minutes
Country United States
Language Silent
English intertitles

Zander the Great is a 1925 silent drama film directed by George W. Hill, in his first directing role for MGM. The film stars Marion Davies. The screenplay by Frances Marion is based upon Edward Salisbury Field 1923 play.[1][2]


Baby Zander (Jack Huff) is an orphan. Mamie (Marion Davies) takes him out West to search for his father. They fall among a den of smugglers in Arizona, where a supposed desperado rescues them from bandits.



In her 20th film, Marion Davies starred as the orphan, Mamie Smith, in a comedy/drama that was the first Davies film produced entirely on the West Coast and the first Davies production for MGM. This was another production that saw Hearst constantly meddling. He fired director Clarence Badger and brought in George W. Hill and Joseph Urban and re-shot extensive sections of the film. He reportedly burned the original footage. Hearst wanted the sand storm finale to outdo the storm scene in Way Down East, but critics said it was overdone to the point of being "claptrap hokum."[3] The film was a hit.

Davies recalled a circus sequence in which she was to enter the cage of a lion. She was so terrified of the lion that she refused to do the scene. Charlie Chaplin, whom she had recently met in Hollywood and who was visiting the set, supposedly donned her costume and did the scene with the lion. Davies' longtime assistant, however, claimed the scene was more likely done by a stuntwoman. The scene is not in the surviving print, but there are production stills showing Davies in a circus setting. This was the third and final teaming of Davies with Harrison Ford.[4]

Preservation status[edit]

  • Prints preserved at Cinematheque Royale de Belgique, Library of Congress and the Museum of Modern Art.[5]


External links[edit]