William Randolph's Hearse
There were other tensions bubbling beneath the surface of the ill-fated cruise, as well, not the least of which was Ince's reportedly desperate effort to lure Hearst into a lucrative partnership that would have salvaged Ince's faltering career. It can be safely speculated that George Thomas' presence among the guests was to assist Ince in inking the deal, if there was to be one. And, if the movie can be believed, the future of Ince's relationship with Margaret Livingston may have hinged on forming the partnership with Hearst that would have furthered her acting aspirations.
The movie, if not the real-life scenario, was rife with Shakespearean intrigue. Ince is portrayed as an Iago-like character to Hearst's Othello: inflaming his jealousy with whisperings of Marion's dalliances with Chaplin, calculatingly trying to score brownie points with the media mogul and get into his good graces. Whether or not this actually happened is pure speculation. Hearst knew well in advance of the cruise about the rumors and he certainly wouldn't have needed any prompting to investigate further.
Among the other guests on that cruise were steamy British novelist Elinor Glyn (from whose perspective, the movie is told); aspiring actresses Seena Owen, Aileen Pringle, Jacqueline Logan, and Julanne Johnston; Dr. Daniel Carson Goodman, a licensed but non-practicing physician who was Hearst's production head at Cosmopolitan; Joseph Willicombe, Hearst's chief secretary and go-fer; Hearst chain publisher Frank Barham and his wife; Davies' sisters Ethel and Reine; Davies' niece Pepi; and black members of an unnamed jazz band.
According to Anger's account, Davies was picked up on the set of her latest picture, Zander the Great, by Chaplin and Parsons, and the three of them drove down together to the yacht in San Pedro. Ince, who was screening his latest picture in Los Angeles, took a train and met the boat in San Diego a day or so later. Onboard, along with the celebrity passengers, was an ample supply of illegal champagne and, if the movie is to be believed, marijuana. Like participants in a Roman orgy, the debauchery was nonstop into the wee hours of the morning. Then, just as the real fun was getting started, it came to a grinding halt.