BETTY COMPSON : PROLIFIC AND PRETTY AMERICAN FILM ACTRESS : SITS IN SPORTS CAR

This vintage real photo postcard features American actress and film producer, Betty Compson (1897-1974). She was nicknamed “the prettiest girl in pictures”. Compson was born in a mining camp in Beaver, Utah. Her father was a mining engineer, a gold prospector, and grocery store owner. Her mother was a maid in hotels and private homes. Betty graduated from Salt Lake High School. She was hired as a violinist at age 16 in a theater in Salt Lake City. She then played in vaudeville touring companies and it was during this stint she was discovered by a film producer (Al Christie) who signed her to a contract. She began her career during Hollywoods’s silent film era. Her debut film was “Wanted, a Leading Lady” (1915). After this film, her career rocketed. She appeared in 25 film in 1916. All but one, were shorts. In 1918 she was offered a contract by studio head Mack Sennett. She rejected the offer because the salary was too low. She continued to make numerous short films until the middle of 1918. She was frequently paired with Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle. She started making only feature films. She became a rising star after appearing opposite Lon Chaney in “The Miracle Man” (1919). Paramount became interested in her and signed her to a five year contract. In 1921, Compson established her own production company in order to have creative control over screenplays and financing. The first movie she produced was “Prisoners of Love” (1921). After she completed acting in “The Woman With Four Faces” (1923), Paramount refused to give her a raise. She wanted an increase in her $2500 per week salary. Compson was angry enough at Paramount, to leave the company, and sign with a British film company. She made four films in England, two of them were films penned by Alfred Hitchcock. Paramount lured her back to Hollywood from England by offering her a top dollar contract. She then appeared in a movie by director, James Cruze. The pair married in 1924, but divorced four years later. The divorce from Cruze nearly ruined her financially because of debt accrued by Cruze. After Paramount did not offer her a contract renewal, she began freelancing in lower budget films. In 1928 she appeared in a “part talkie” called “The Barker”. She played a manipulative carnival girl. She was nominated for a “Best Actress” for this role by the Academy Awards. In 1929, she gained much recognition for her role in “The Docks of New York”. She played a suicidal prostitute. These two films resulted in her popularity returning to it’s previous high level. She appeared in many “talkie” films. Unlike a lot of silent film stars, Compson made a successful transition into sound films. In fact, she even appeared in a number of early musicals. When she played singing parts, her voice was dubbed. Her career flourished. In 1930, she appeared in 9 films. Her last “hit’ was in “The Spoilers”. Her costar was Gary Cooper. Her popularity waned and she only got roles in low budget, less successful studios. Her last film was in 1948. After retiring from her movie career, she started a cosmetic line and assisted her husband in a business named “Ashtrays Unlimited”. In total Compson was married three times. Her second marriage, to agent/producer Irving Weinberg ended in divorce after four years. Her third marriage was to a professional boxer. The marriage lasted 18 years and ended upon his death in 1962. She had no children. She died in 1974 after suffering a heart attack. She had much impact on the early movie industry. The IMDb reports 209 film credits between 1915 and 1948. This vintage postcard is in excellent condition (see scans). Take a look at the YouTube video below. The video features Betty Compson appearing in the silent film, “The Docks of New York” (1928). The music accompanying this video is obviously modern, but, in my opinion, it is excellent. Compson demonstrates incredible acting ability. Her facial expression and her eyes speak for her. SOLD

Betty Compson in “The Docks of New York” (1928)
Music: “Marry Me” By Dave Pagett and Viv Jones (Sax)