It probably played better back in 1927, but it's still pretty watchable
The film is about several thieves and murderers who travel with carnivals and prey on decent people--in this case, a man who brought his sheep to town to sell them and his overweight daughter. The man is shot and killed (by Lionel Barrymore) to get his money, though when it turns out his daughter has the money, another of these low-lives (John Gilber) tries to film-flam the money from her. While all a bit silly when you think about it, some of the tricks they tried to use to get the money were really cool. My favorite was when they re-staged the execution of John the Bapist (who, for some odd reason, they referred to him by some name I have never heard of before--NOT John). The fake chopping off the head and sticking it on a silver platter bit was really exciting to watch--BOTH times they staged it.
Back in 1927, I am sure this film was considered better than people today would assess it. Now I am not saying it's a bad film--it's pretty good. But, the melodramatic style of the film seems dated and the idea of evil "carnies" stealing and murdering was an accepted theme back in the 20s--but today it just seems kind of silly. But despite this and a very, very, very simplistic and moralistic plot, it is pretty good and a good film for silent movie buffs. But, overall, it's not one of John Gilbert's best films nor is it one that has especially lasting appeal.
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