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  Bessie Love and Johnnie Walker.
Frame enlargement: Silent Era image
The Matinee Idol
(1928) American
B&W : Six reels / 5925 feet
Directed by Frank R. Capra (Frank Capra)

Cast: Bessie Love [Ginger Bolivar], Johnnie Walker [Don Wilson / ‘Harry Mann’], Lionel Belmore [Colonel Jasper Bolivar], Ernest Hilliard [Arnold Wingate], David Mir [Eric Barrymaine], Sidney D’Albrook [J. Madison Wilberforce], Sidney Bracey, Mary Gordon, Benny Rubin [Walker’s dance double]

Columbia Pictures Corporation production; distributed by Columbia Pictures Corporation. / Produced by Harry Cohn. Scenario by Elmer Harris, with continuity by Peter Milne, from the screen story “Come Back to Aaron” by Robert Lord and Ernest Pagano. Art direction by Robert E. Lee. Assistant director, Eugene De Rue. Cinematography by Philip Tannura. Edited by Arthur Roberts. / © 5 April 1928 by Columbia Pictures Corporation [LP25136]. Released 14 March 1928. / Standard 35mm spherical 1.33:1 format. / The film as remade by Columbia as The Music Goes ’Round (1936). A digital restoration of the film, from a worn 28mm reduction print, was completed by Sony Pictures in 1997. / Silent film.


Synopsis: A Broadway star (Walker) disguises himself as an ordinary man and takes a bit role as a ham actor in a small traveling troupe. He quickly falls in love with its main (and only) actress (Love). The troupe is invited by a producer (Hilliard) to Broadway where they are an accidental comedy success. Humiliated, the troupe returns to their circuit. Walker follows to win Love’s hand at last.

Survival status: Print exists in the Cinémathèque française film archive.

Current rights holder: (unknown)

Keywords: Actors - Audiences - Blackface - Boarding houses - Children - Dancers - Dancing - Flags: American - Hats - Hearing aids: Hearing trumpets - Make-up - Mirrors - Musical instruments: Pianos - Parties (Costume) - Rehearsals - Singers - Street scenes - Tents - Theaters - Tobacco: Cigarettes - Transportation: Automobiles - Trunks - USA: New York: New York: Broadway - Water: Rain

Listing updated: 12 September 2008.

References: Film credits, film viewing : McBride-Capra p. 723; Poague-Capra p. 236 : Website-AFI.

Home video: DVD.

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