Murder in Hollywood: Solving a Silent Screen Mystery

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Like Taylor, Vidor was a director in the silent era, and as late as Vidor had wanted to make a film about the murder. Margaret Gibson came out of nowhere and shot to the top of the list of suspects. Giroux believes that Taylor was killed by a contract killer. The long forgotten silent film actress Margaret Gibson gave birth to yet another theory in After suffering a heart attack, as she lay dying on her kitchen floor, she confessed to the murder. According to witness Raphael Long:. Apparently, she had just converted to Roman Catholicism and was deeply concerned with the consequences of the hereafter.

She further stated that she had shot and killed a man by the name of William Desmond Taylor. Is it weird to have a publication dedicated to a murder case? Read all posts by Jake Hinkson for Criminal Element.

The Scandalous Murder of William Desmond Taylor

If you knew the research I did. I went to the King Vidor collection. I got everything that had ever been written on it. We solved the murder mystery. We figured out who did it, how they did it, and how and why it had to be covered up. It was an amazing experience. That was six years ago, so I assume her movie will not in fact get made.

Though I think she would do an amazing job of it. Wonder if there are any other plans out there for a Taylor film…. Your email address will not be published. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. According to witness Raphael Long: Apparently, she had just converted to Roman Catholicism and was deeply concerned with the consequences of the hereafter.

Comments Jake Hinkson May 2, at pm. Wonder if there are any other plans out there for a Taylor film… Reply. Eddie muller May 2, at pm. David Cranmer May 3, at am. Fascinating piece, Jake. Jake Hinkson May 4, at pm. It looks fantastic. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published. Instead, the book suffers from bad writing, a disjointed narrative, and absolutely no proof that the person he names is indeed the murderer.

Higham supposedly interviewed a host of silent stars, who are now conveniently dead.


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And King Vidor also suppo Just a trainwreck of a book — I didn't even finish it. And King Vidor also supposedly lent him all of his considerable research. If this was indeed the case, Higham owed his readers a book far beyond this miserable effort. I'm going reread Robert Giroux's Deed of Death instead. May 15, Claudia rated it it was ok Shelves: crime , anf-challenge , a All to protect the studios, their star actors and actresses as well as the dead director - William Desmond Taylor.

This was the time when the murder case against Roscoe "Fattie" Arbuckle was about to go to trial and society beauty Madalynne Obenchain couldn't be convicted of killing her lover. His family in Ireland.

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The wife and daughter who he abandoned in New York. The Alaskan gold fields and his service during World War I. His success in the silent film industry and the people he regularly partied with. But the majority of the book deals with the murder and the fiasco surrounding it.

Murder in Hollywood: Solving a Silent Screen Mystery

Police pointed the press towards enough red herring leads to re-populate the ocean. And the press responded just the way they were directed. Police Chief Everington as well as DA Woolwine didn't care whose reputation was damaged - or even destroyed - as long as Mary Miles Minter - a young starlet who started in films as a child actor - was protected.

Likely at the behest of the studio moguls at the time. The files that were a foundation of the author's work were originally collected by King Vidor - a film director whose career covered nearly 7 decades and who is renown for directing "The Wizard of Oz" - and Higham even managed to get interviews with whomever was alive at the time - the last one, Mary herself, died in Admittedly, the murder is still an open cold case but it is unlikely to ever truly be closed.

The author did create an argument that Mary Miles Minter herself accidentally killed Taylor when he refused to succumb to her demand to become her lover and it is possible. But no one will ever really know the truth.

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Jan 13, Shonn Haren rated it did not like it. I had high hopes for this one. I first became familiar with the Taylor murder while cataloging this book as a student cataloger back in or It seemed a fascinating portal into a Los Angeles long dead. However, the heavy reading schedules of a History major, and then Grad Student interfered and I forgot all about this until I listened to Karina Longworth's excellent podcast on this topic a few months ago and decided to look this one up.

What a disappointment. Higham should have just titl I had high hopes for this one.

Murder in Hollywood: Solving a Silent Screen Mystery

Now to be fair, Minter and her mother Charlotte Shelby are two likely candidates for this subject, and the great lengths the Los Angeles District Attorney's office went to keep them out of suspicion raise some serious eyebrows. Yet the thing about the Taylor murder, aside from the truly heinous Police bungling in the first few hours which probably rendered it unsolvable is how convoluted the whole thing really is: William Desmond Taylor born William Deane-Tanner is a truly bizarre figure, who hardly lacked for enemies.


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He was the disowned son of Anglo-Irish gentry who worked a variety of odd jobs in the states, married and then abandoned his wife and daughter, changed his name and ended up in Hollywood, where he proved to be one of the first great directors, whose lovers and rivals made up a colorful and bizarre cast of characters, in a boom town where crime and corruption were rampant.

Higham paints a damning picture of the young starlet, but his fixation on her leads him to discount any and all other theories as stupid or false. Higham's myopia ultimately makes his retelling of a fascinating mystery a one-dimensional kangaroo court. Mar 05, Michelle Champ rated it liked it. This book is about the same murder that Tinseltown was written about. I read these two back to back on purpose because I wanted to see what two different writers thought about this unsolved Hollywood murder. This book featured things that were not mentioned in the last book, evidence wise. I was wondering if it was fiction or actual facts?

I did not enjoy this one as much. This one was writer with one criminal in mind and didn't much mention what others could have murder William Desmond Taylor. I did like that this author seemed to have actually interviewed some of the "players" or their families I made up my mind long ago who the murderer was and after reading these two books, I have not changed that Jul 11, Jody rated it liked it. What a great topic!

However, I am still not convinced, as the author is, of who committed the crime.

Also, this book could use some proofreading. I shouldn't find as many mistakes as I did--missing words,etc. It is a really good history of the s in Hollywood, but not convincing as "solving a murder. Good version of events I love trying to figure out what happened with William Desmond Taylor. I've read "Cast of Killers," "Tinseltown," and checked out Taylorology. This book is an excellent presentation from someone who actually interviewed Minter and others from that time and place. Even if you know nothing of the murder, it is a great read.

Dec 14, Liz rated it it was ok. The subject matter of this book is very interesting - covers the as-yet unsolved murder of a famous silent film director. I found the writing to be lofty and confusing. It made for a difficult and tiring read.

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Jun 04, Annie Garvey rated it it was ok. Rule number on in writing a murder mystery: Never reveal the murderer until the end. Ho hum. Sep 04, Jean rated it it was ok.