A maid who works for a traveling theatrical troupe wants desperately to be an actress, and manages to get some small roles in the company's productions, but is determined to do anything she... See full summary »
A maid who works for a traveling theatrical troupe wants desperately to be an actress, and manages to get some small roles in the company's productions, but is determined to do anything she can to show that she deserves a shot at the big time. Written by
Silent backstage drama stars Beatrice Lillie in rare screen role...
There's nothing strikingly original about EXIT SMILING except for the fact that it doesn't have the usual happy Hollywood ending. It stars the incomparable BEATRICE LILLIE and FRANKLIN PANGBORN (yes, that's right) as a matinée idol by the name of Cecil Lovelace! He, of course, was a great character actor who could do double takes and slow burns better than anyone except Cary Grant.
It's a tale that in its essence reminds me of the Betty Hutton/John Lund starrer, THE PERILS OF PAULINE, which was also about a traveling repertory company with non-actress Betty struggling to fit in with the group of players and all of the outrageous gags that made up Hutton's comedy routines in that film. Here it's BEATRICE LILLIE mugging her way through some really funny gag situations, demonstrating why she was such a talented funny lady even as early as this silent film.
She struts her stuff with gay abandon, including the scenes where she's playing the man's role in a typically passion-filled saga meant to enthrall audiences with its tragic situations.
The talent does not extend to the rest of the cast, with the exception of FRANKLIN PANGBORN who is excellent as Cecil Lovelace. But JACK PICKFORD (Mary Pickford's younger brother) is an odd choice for leading man opposite Lillie. He has absolutely no charisma, lacks any sort of acting talent and gives a dull, lifeless performance as the small town fugitive suspected of robbery who is protected by the lovestruck Lillie and given a job in the acting troupe.
A very nice complementary score by Linda Martinez can be heard whenever the film is presented on TCM. It adds a much needed touch to the comic situations.
Definitely a silent film delight, well worth seeing, especially for fans of Lillie and the inimitable Franklin Pangborn.
0 of 0 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?