2 user 2 critic

Tillie the Toiler (1927)

Tillie the Toiler is a 1927 silent film comedy produced by Cosmopolitan Productions and released through Metro Goldwyn Mayer studios. It is based on Russ Westover's popular comic strip ... See full summary »




Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Marion goes to college to pursue a handsome young man and discovers that he is coach of a women's basketball team.

Director: Sam Wood
Stars: Marion Davies, Johnny Mack Brown, Jane Winton
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A fresh young beauty becomes an old maid waiting for her suitor to return from the Napoleonic wars. When he returns, clearly disappointed, she disguises herself as her own niece in order to test his loyalty.

Director: Sidney Franklin
Stars: Marion Davies, Conrad Nagel, Helen Jerome Eddy
April Folly (1920)
Drama | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

April Folly is a 1920 American silent drama film directed by Robert Z. Leonard and written by Adrian Johnson and Cynthia Stockley. The film stars Marion Davies, Madeline Marshall, Hattie ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Z. Leonard
Stars: Marion Davies, Madeline Marshall, Hattie Delaro
Yolanda (1924)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  

Princess Mary of Burgundy, traveling in disguise using the name of Yolanda, attends a silk fair and falls in love with Maximilian, who has disguised himself as a knight. Later Maximilian is... See full summary »

Director: Robert G. Vignola
Stars: Marion Davies, Lyn Harding, Holbrook Blinn
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Strung around the idea of reincarnation, this film goes back in time to the days of the Spanish galleons and pirates burying their treasure; treasure to be found centuries later.

Director: George D. Baker
Stars: Marion Davies, Norman Kerry, Anders Randolf
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The original Plain Jane story that inspired many copycats. Shy secretary Jane removes her glasses and hat, transforming into a natural beauty. Unsavory characters push her into impersonating a French model. Confusion and romance ensue.

Director: Louis J. Gasnier
Stars: Marceline Day, Bert Lytell, Eileen Percy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An Irish lass is torn between the poet who seduced her and noble man who truly loves.

Director: George Terwilliger
Stars: Marion Davies, John B. O'Brien, Frank Shannon
Next of Kin (1995–1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Maggie and Andrew are looking forward to retiring to France when their orphaned grandchildren, who they barely know, become their wards. The children are hostile, peculiar eaters and Maggie... See full summary »

Stars: Penelope Keith, William Gaunt, Ann Gosling
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.3/10 X  

Dame Penelope Keith visits England's picturesque villages to see how they're holding up in the 21st century. For the most part, she finds them quirky, resilient, and, well, picturesque.

Stars: Penelope Keith
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Director: Julius Steger
Stars: Marion Davies, Etienne Girardot, L. Rogers Lytton
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.1/10 X  
Directors: Leon D'Usseau, Robert Z. Leonard
Stars: Marion Davies, Ralph Kellard, Carlyle Blackwell
Law and Disorder (TV Series 1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A no-nonsense barrister continually but not continuously corrects the grammar and behaviour of others, whilst skating close to the edge of moral practise herself in order to win her cases.

Stars: Penelope Keith, Simon Williams, Charles Kay


Credited cast:
J. Cornelius MacDougall
Harry Crocker ...
Pennington Fish
Mr. Simpkins
Gertrude Short ...
Ma Jones
Mr. Smythe
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ida May


Tillie the Toiler is a 1927 silent film comedy produced by Cosmopolitan Productions and released through Metro Goldwyn Mayer studios. It is based on Russ Westover's popular comic strip Tillie the Toiler. The film was directed by Hobart Henley and stars Marion Davies.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama





Release Date:

5 June 1927 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Caras e Corações  »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Because of the famous comic strip character she played, Marion Davies had to wear a black wig. See more »


Remade as Tillie the Toiler (1941) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Marion is the cat's meow
14 October 2002 | by See all my reviews


"Tillie the Toiler" was originally a comic strip drawn and written by Russ Westover for King Features Syndicate. Tillie was drawn in a style that was meant to make her look very sexy and chic, whilst the male characters in the same strip were drawn in a more conventionally cartoonish style to look grotesque and boorish. The strip often showed Tillie in her workplace, but she wasn't really a "toiler" because she spent most of her time concerned about her next date or her new dress or anything except her job.

The 1927 film version of "Tillie" was produced by Cosmopolitan Pictures, which tells you that the star of the movie is Marion Davies. (Hearst set up Cosmopolitan to produce star vehicles for his actress girlfriend.) With her straight blonde hair, Marion looks nothing like the comic-strip Tillie: in fact, she's much prettier. (The comic-book version of Tillie looked like Bernadette Peters, who doesn't do a thing for me.) "Tillie the Toiler" is a surprising vehicle for Davies, because Hearst preferred to cast her in pretentious costume dramas rather than frothy comedies. The humour in this movie is very broad (much like the original comic strip), with more slapstick than usual for Davies, but she's excellent in this role.

When we first see Tillie (Davies), she's walking down the street on her way to Mr Fish's office when a cinder blows into her eye. This causes her to wink repeatedly. Various men see Tillie winking, and each man assumes she's winking at him flirtatiously. One by one, the men fall into step behind Tillie while she walks down the street winking. By the time she reaches Mr Fish's office, she's got a whole pack of horny men behind her. Most of the film implies that Tillie doesn't realise how much she arouses the men around her ... which is rather hard to believe.

Tillie starts her new job as secretary to the pompous tycoon Pennington Fish, whom she calls "Penny". Tillie is meant to be a standard dumb blonde, in the Carol Channing/Gracie Allen mode ... only sexier, like an early Jayne Mansfield (or a proto-Goldie Hawn), but there are hints that Tillie isn't quite so dumb as she seems. Davies played a very similar role in "Not So Dumb", one of her early talkies. "Tillie the Toiler" is much funnier than "Not So Dumb" but not nearly so funny as "The Patsy" (Marion's funniest and sexiest role).

A lot of Tillie's dialogue in this movie involves malapropisms that are funny when we read them on silent-film title cards, but which wouldn't be nearly so funny if this movie had a soundtrack: for instance, when Tillie expresses her desire to attend "a charity bizarre". There's quite a bit of Jazz Age 1920s slang in this movie's title cards.

Tillie's "job" is really just an excuse for her to skive and lollygag, and to flirt with Mr Fish's male employees. This incurs the wrath of Frank Whipple, the Fish Company's office manager. Whipple is very well played by George K. Arthur as a fussy little dandified man. Arthur sometimes played men who were explicitly cissies, and his portrayal of Whipple seems to be on the borderline of effeminacy. Most of the men in Fish's company are ga-ga for Tillie, but Whipple seems to be immune to her charms ... and George K. Arthur's performance implies that, well, Whipple just isn't interested in women.

SPOILER COMING. Tillie spends a good bit of this movie toying with horny men like Bill (played by fat unattractive Bert Roach) until she meets Matt Moore, who plays the only "real man" in this movie ... so it's obvious whom Tillie will end up with.

I'm a fan of old-time comic strips, but Westover's "Tillie the Toiler" hasn't aged well, and is justifiably one of the more obscure examples of 1920s humour. This movie version isn't quite so dated (thanks to Davies's superb performance), but it's still very much a back number. The camera work is excellent, as are the sets. David Townsend is credited as Cedric Gibbons's "associate", which means that Townsend actually designed the sets while Gibbons took his contractual credit.

2 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 2 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page