The song is about Marie Prevost (Nick Lowe misspells her name). It's lyrics read in part: "Marie Provost was a movie queen / mysterious angel of the silent screen / And run like the wind the nation's young men steamed / When Marie crossed the silent screen."
It should be noted that Lowe's lyrics inaccurately recount the circumstances around Prevost's premature death, as gleamed from Kenneth Anger's flawed Hollywood Babylon. Don't know why this English pop musician wrote a song about a forgotten movie star, but he did. . . .
Marie Prevost was a Canadian-born film actress. Prevost began her career during the silent film era, and came to fame as a member of Mack Sennett's Bathing Beauties. By all accounts, she was a fine comedic and dramatic actress. During her twenty-year career, she made approximately 120 silent and talking pictures.
. . . . Speaking of Marie Prevost, there is a new book out on the actress, Desperately Seeking Marie Prevost (BearManor), by Richard Kirby. I recently finished reading it. This slim (104 page), poorly written book takes a look at the life and work of a beautiful, talented and ill-fated actress who was one of Hollywood's biggest stars in the 1920s. Its unfortunate, because Prevost deserves better.