Edna Purviance's bio

June 6, 2018 - Re-editing Edna Purviance's family biography 2nd Draft. Photo: Leading Ladies © used by ednapurviance.org

Monday, September 30, 2013

Morgan Hill vs. Maurice Hill

Extra for my 'Edna Not' page on my Edna Purviance home site
(This time, not Morgan Hill...)

Recently, I had someone think that these two people were the same person. Two of their main facts, in coming to this conclusion, was the look of them and their name. Both had the name Morgan Hill. But in a case like this, just because someone has the same name and a similar look, isn't enough to go on in identifying people. I knew for sure, who the person on the left was, but didn't know anything about the person on the right.

The man on the left, is Sidney Morgan Hill, Edna Purviance's nephew. And through research, I have been able to identify the person on the RIGHT, as Maurice Earl Hill (alias Morgan Hill).

I knew Sidney Morgan Hill, as I have been researching his life for the past 10 years. I had this post here about a 3D project Morgan was involved with. This is where the confusion started.

Someone thought their Morgan Hill had to be Edna's nephew, based on a similar look to each other and the fact they had the same name. The other gentlemen, I never heard of, but in the last day, I learned more about him, to help prove, these are not the same people. Using the web sources, I tracked down who this other Morgan Hill really was.

I knew from the contact this other 'Morgan Hill' did an acting job in one known film called '23 1/2 Hours Leave.' Because he was credited in the film as Morgan Hill, he has his own listing on IMDb, but I learned that wasn't his given name.

Lefthand Image: Sidney Morgan Hill was Edna Purviance's nephew. He worked for Chaplin's Studio between the production of 'The Circus' and early production on 'The Great Dictator.' He was born to a pioneering ranching and mining family in Humboldt County Nevada. (Some of his birth history is here.) Morgan worked for Chaplin throughout the 1930s, but also took on extra camera and film lab work, during Chaplin's long breaks from filmmaking. I never found Morgan acting in any films.

Righthand Image: Maurice Earl Hill was born to a wealthy Chicago manufacturer, but also read his father was a builder. While Maurice was studying medicine, he met stage actress and performer, Fifi D'Orsay (said to be born as Marie-Rose Angelina Yvonne Lussier, but not confirmed). Fifi was her stage name. They were married in 1933.

Fifi thinking of marrying Maurice in September 1933
River Daily Press, California, September 21, 1933
December 5, 1933 - Hollywood, Ca. Marriage planned for December 6th, 1933.
(A bit confusing, as the marriage, was on and off again, about four times, before actually marrying.)

Lefthand Image: This is a signed picture of Maurice and Fifi from 1935. The image was signed by Maurice and Fifi Hill. You can see, even with the makeup, the details of the eyes, mouth, chin, and nose are similar. (The signed image was found during a web search.)

Righthand Image: This was the closest image I could find of Maurice Hill (stage name 'Morgan Hill') from the film '23 1/2 Hours Leave' from 1937. During this film, I found Maurice's name changed to 'Morgan Hill' for the credits in the film and also in the publicity in the press. This change may have been because of Maurice's wealthy Chicago background. But why Morgan Hill? Don't know, but one guess, Morgan Hill was also a name of a well-known town in California, so could have been as simple as that.

NOTE: Sidney Morgan Hill has been confused with the town of Morgan Hill, California. A couple of writers thought Sidney was from there. I did help one in getting their information correct, and they were grateful. As for Sidney Hill, he had great fun learning a town shared his same name. He even made a visit there, just to check it out. Initially, it was a train stop for Morgan Hill Ranch.

Here is how Maurice 'Morgan Hill' name is listed in the credits of the film. He plays the role of TOMMY. Maurice's first appearance in the film is when he brings in a message (at about 23 minutes into the film).

The Canton Repository, Canton, Ohio - pg. 43 - April 2, 1937
Mentions the film, Morgan Hill (Maurice) and his wife Fifi D'Osray.
 'Morgan Hill' Maurice Hill and his wife, Fifi, and the producer of the film. May 1937.

This is a more detailed account of the film, during its release with an ad for the film.

I decided to check out this couple further and learned they were divorced in 1939. Even Maurice Hill's mother helped Fifi with the divorce from her son, who is said to have deserted her in November 1937. (Not confirmed for the exact date.)

Sidney Morgan Hill was still at the Chaplin Studios, but coming to the end of his work there, as Chaplin was making major changes in staff, as part of Chaplin's move finally to sound and the changing labor union requirements for workers.

While Sidney Morgan Hill was never in the film, '23 1/2 Hours Leave' I will have much more about Morgan's real life in Edna's family bio. While I found more on Maurice Earl Hill, this post is just to help people look beyond just a similar looking face and name.

Note: There is someone else named Maurice Hill in the IMDb listings, but checking the age, he was a younger man than this Maurice 'Morgan' Hill and worked mainly in television.

Nine Morgan Hills are listed in the IMDb listing.

IMDb listing for 'Morgan Hill' in '23 1/2 Hours Leave', that is really Maurice Earl Hill.

Sidney Morgan Hill on the IMDb listing that needs updating, but clearly says from Nevada, which is correct.

Also remember, information on Maurice, can change too, as more research is done, but this establishes they are two different people. While this has nothing to do with my current Edna bio writing, I decided to post the research to help others to be careful. Going down the wrong path is easy. Thanks for reading...

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Arthur Honegger's Napoleon Suite

There has been much writing about the original music score for Abel Gance's Napoleon. Having a strong interest in music, and having studied and performed, I can easily be on the side of French composer, Arthur Honegger, when it has been said, he hated this film. The main reason he probably came to hate it, was the fact Gance's kept re-editing the film, clear up to the night it was premiered. For a composer, that is a nightmare.

This is said to be the only remaining score that exists from that original release. I have read different opinions about it too, but I don't go by other peoples opinions, but how it speaks to me, as a listener. And I must say, I really enjoyed this. I'm looking forward to finding it to add to my collection of classical music.

(This is a recording by the CSR Symphony Orchestra.)

Not seeing any of the film versions, I have read, not much of this is in the current Carl Davis score, but only a touch. If you have seen the film, or have Carl Davis's Napoleon CD, you can hear what parts.

For those going to NAPOLEON in London on November 30th, I thought you like to listen to this score, as well.

Also, here is a good article about the background of this score and the music of Napoleon. (From the Moldehauer Archives at the Library of Congress.)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Kevin Brownlow - Lecture at the 'London Television Centre'

Another re-visit, as I continue to post a collection of material featuring Kevin Brownlow and his coming showing of Abel Gance's NAPOLEON at Royal Festival Hall in London.

In 2010, Kevin Brownlow gave an informative lecture at the 'London Television Centre.' It was part of the Jane Mercer Memorial Lecture series. 'My Life in Archives' was recorded by Gerry Lewis Productions. This three part lecture is a must for people heading to NAPOLEON this November 30th, 2013 and fans of Brownlow's work.

Part One: link to program
Brownlow talks about his early years, that lead to his work with NAPOLEON.

2010 Jane Mercer Lecture part 1 from Gerry Lewis Productions on Vimeo.

Part Two: link to program
2010 Jane Mercer Lecture part 2 from Gerry Lewis Productions on Vimeo.

Part Three - link to program
2010 Jane Mercer Lecture part 3 Q&A from Gerry Lewis Productions on Vimeo.

Here is the link to the Philharmonic Orchestra site for more details on the Napoleon showing.

Note: Counting under a 100 seats still available, in the Balcony and Boxes.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Kevin Brownlow talks to Leonard Lopate about NAPOLEON

When Abel Gance's NAPOLEON shown in Oakland, California, by the San Francisco Silent Film Festival in 2012, Kevin Brownlow did some USA interviews about that showing. Here's Brownlow on 'The Leonard Lopate Show' on WNYC, discussing the film and the music.

With Royal Festival Hall showing the film in London on November 30th, great time to re-listen to this 18:05 minute program from November 2011.  LINK TO SHOW

Part of my countdown to NAPOLEON.  More about The Leonard Lopate Show.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Rarely screened NAPOLEON

If you haven't gotten your tickets to see NAPOLEON, there is only a few seats left for the November 30th, 2013 showing at the Royal Festival Hall (few box and balcony seats left). Unlike in Oakland, where there were four showings of the film, only one showing is currently on schedule for the London presentation.

NAPOLEON has only shown on the big screen, in it's restored form, a handful of times. This is the third time it will be presented at the Royal Festival Hall in thirteen years. It's also been shown in two versions, Kevin Brownlow's restored version, with the music of Carl Davis, and a shorter film version with the score by Carmine Coppola.

Without getting into the legal battles over the film, the main thing, the only way to see Brownlow's complete film, is at these rare screens, like last year in Oakland and this November in London. It's very expensive to show this film with a live orchestra, and to set up the special screens, with projectors, for the Triptych (three scenes at once, on three different screens).

While there is a shorter Francis Ford Coppola version available on DVD, the Brownlow's version, with Carl Davis score is not available on disc. And it may never be in the near or far future, due to the legal copyright situation. But at least, for those who can, these rare live music viewing do give fans a chance to see it.

Meanwhile, here is a taste of a live screening with the Coppola version in Rome.

And, if you missed this earlier, here is Kevin Brownlow's talking about Abel Gance from the early 1980s (?).

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Carl Davis on creating the music for Napoleon

With NAPOLEON being presented at the Royal Festival Hall this November 30th, 2013 in London, looking back at the special showing of the film in Oakland, California by the San Francisco Silent Film Festival in the spring of 2012.

Here composer Carl Davis talks about creating the music for NAPOLEON during that 2012 presentations. Presented by SFSFF.

Again, only a few seats left for the Kevin Brownlow's restored version on November 30th in London.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Carl Davis on BBC 3 Radio - one week only!

BBC Radio 3 - Carl Davis is one of the guest this week on 'John Mills: Sound of Cinema.' Davis does talk about the coming NAPOLEON event in London at the Royal Festival Hall, on November 30th, 2013.

Davis segment starts at 37:00 minutes and ends at 57:20. You can hear the program for one week only (six days left, from the date of this post).


At this post, a few Balcony seats still available for the London November 30th event.


Also, a good time to look back at the 2012 Napoleon presentation by the San Francisco Silent Film Festival. Here is Carl Davis touring the Paramount Theater in Oakland, California. If you get a chance, do take in a movie or other program there, sometime. This video provided by the San Francisco Silent Film Festival.

Documentary of Abel Gance's first talking film 'The End of the World'

With the end of the silent era, Napoleon director Abel Gance created his first talking film called 'The End of the World.' During the making of the film, Eugene Deslaw filmed a silent documentary, which includes behind the scenes images of the filming, with clips from the picture.

But the film was not a success. With funding pulled, after nearly two years in production and five million francs, the only release US version was cut to 54-minutes. Kevin Brownlow used some surviving film clips in his history of European films in Cinema Europe.

Here's more about the film from DVD Talks.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Kevin Brownlow talking about Napoleon on PBS

In 2012, Kevin Brownlow's latest restored NAPOLÉON premiered in Oakland. With another showing planned on November 30th, 2013 in London, here is a look back to an interview with Kevin Brownlow on PBS Art Beat, talking about the making of Napoléon.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Director Abel Gance & actor Albert Dieudonné 'La Folie du Docteur Tube'

For those going to NAPOLEON in London this November, here is look at another film director Abel Gance made with NAPOLEON's star Albert Dieudonné:

'La Folie du Docteur Tube' (1915) - short restored film
Doctor Tube - played by Albert Dieudonné
Directed by - Abel Gance

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

NOT EDNA PURVIANCE but Margie Reiger

Another, not Edna Purviance image today, as I saw this on an eBay listing for Red Letter Postcards. The actress in this photo with Charlie Chaplin is Margie Reiger. The film is 'By the Sea' from Essanay in 1915.

Reiger has been mistaken for Edna Purviance before, but she clearly doesn't have the same face features as Edna. I do think people just look at the hair, and if it looks similar, and they are standing by Chaplin, it must be Edna. I wrote the seller in hopes they will correct the error. If you see someone using this image as Edna, please point them to this link. Thanks, LW, ednapurviance.org

Charlie Chaplin and Margie Reiger in 'By the Sea' (1915) Essanay

Monday, September 09, 2013

This photo is NOT Edna Purviance

I have found this picture on a Flickr account, listing it as Edna Purviance.

It is NOT Edna Purviance, but a photo of Mary Miles Minter.

If you see this anywhere on the web, please report the error and send them to here. Too many people have mistaken Edna for someone else, so trying to get these mislabeled images off the web, and titled with their correct names.

Thank-you, L.Wada, ednapurviance.org

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Kevin Brownlow's Napoleon - Abel Gance's Classic Film (book)

If you are planning to see Kevin Brownlow's NAPOLEON in London on November 30th, 2013, or just like to learn more about the film, you may want to check out Kevin Brownlow's book 'NAPOLEON, Abel Gance's Classic Film.'

It's still available a few places used and new. You can check this link to my Hollywood Series page, with a link to books still available in the US.  I found it in two different releases from 1983 from Alfred a Knopf. The used ones maybe mixed.

In the UK? There are a variety of books still available to buy new and used. Check your used local bookstore too.

If you are on a budget or just want to see the book before buying, you can always check it out at your local library. It's available worldwide. Here's a link to World Cat for libraries it is located.

Still tickets available for the event at Royal Festival Hall, but going fast. 

Also, here's an article from Sense of Cinema from 2006, on the background of the different versions.

Update: Click this link more posts on NAPOLEON.