THE SILENT TREATMENT: Dressed To Kill (1928)

Worthy of an entire week’s episodes of E! True Hollywood Stories, silent siren Mary Astor (best known for her role in the 1941 classic The Maltese Falcon) remains one of the Twenties’ most ravishing beauties, also with one of the most wicked true-life tales imaginable. Starting off as a popular child star bled dry for her money by her greedy parents, Astor later survived a suicide attempt, alcoholism — and most famously, a morals scandal when it was revealed during a custody battle for her child she’d been unfaithful against the physician husband who’d treated her during her nervous breakdown over the death of her previous husband (whew!) Right before she successfully navigated her career into the realm of talkies, Astor starred in this Jazz Age gangland tale of ritzy nightclubs, shadowy dealings, magnificently coiffed molls and murderous mob flunkies. Plus, the evening kicks off with A Moonshine Feud, the 1920 silent western short starring Texas Guinan, America’s first moviestar cowgirl. Music by resident Cinefamily accompanist Cliff Retallick!

Dressed To Kill Dir. Irving Cummings, 1928, 35mm, 70 min. (Archival print courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art)
A Moonshine Feud 1920, 35mm, approx. 15 min. (Archival print courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive)