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Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams
Kiki, a poor young woman who sells newspapers on the street corners of Paris, is able to land a job singing and dancing at a nearby theater. While she is there, she invites herself into the life of the revue's manager, with whom she has fallen in love. Written by
Delightful silent screwball comedy vehicle for Talmadge
Report from Cinesation 2006: KIKI (****) As Jeanine Basinger says in her book on Silent Stars, perhaps the biggest hole in our understanding of silent stardom is the career of Norma Talmadge-- she likens it to knowing talkies without ever seeing Bette Davis. This sparkling new Library of Congress restoration of a 1926 Parisian showbiz farce is atypical for the grande dame roles Talmadge usually played, but as with Marion Davies and Show People, it wouldn't be the worst fate for a star to be known mainly to history for a first-class comedy.
Talmadge, at thirtysomething more game than gamine, is a plucky street gal who weasels her way into producer Ronald Colman's chorus line, his home, and his heart. Because a number of folks present had seen it just a month before at Cinecon, I was prepped for the idea that it was something of a screwball comedy with neither lead behaving in any way that real humans would. (The word "stalker" was used on alt.movies.silent, and aptly so.) But taken as kind of a silent Twentieth Century or Bringing Up Baby, it had lots of laughs, and Talmadge pulls off the comedy beautifully (as does George K. Arthur, as her archrival among Colman's servants).
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