Quick, what does King Vidor (director of classics like the 1928 THE CROWD) have in common with Kimberly Peirce (director of the brilliant 1999 BOYS DON'T CRY)? Both of them tried unsuccessfully for years to film a story about the murder of another director, the silent film pioneer William Desmond Taylor. What is so fascinating about the murder that two directors, decades apart, would attempt to wrestle the mystery into a movie about sex, betrayal, and fame? I suppose the answer is in the question. The murder of Taylor shook Hollywood to its core, and the bizarre circumstances around the case seemed to touch every power center in LA from the studios to the press and all the way into the upper reaches of the the LAPD.
Check my essay on the case over at Criminal Element.