Among the residents of a theatrical boarding house is the last member of a once great acting family, down on his luck. When an offer to star in a London "Hamlet" comes, he takes lessons ... See full summary »



(as Randall H. Faye), (story "The Snake's Wife")
1 win. See more awards »


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Complete credited cast:
Nancy Nash ...
Gertie Ryan
Earle Foxe ...
Eric Brashingham
Juan Rodriguez - aka Jack La Velle
Lydia Yeamans Titus ...
Miss Hattie Breckenbridge Peyton
Emile Chautard ...
Ted McNamara ...
Callahan and Callahan
Sammy Cohen ...
Callahan and Callahan
The Soubrette
Lillian Worth ...
Sister Team
Judy King ...
The Sister Team
Harry A. Bailey ...
Gus Hoffman (as Harry Bailey)
Ely Reynolds ...


Among the residents of a theatrical boarding house is the last member of a once great acting family, down on his luck. When an offer to star in a London "Hamlet" comes, he takes lessons from a faded former star, and goes on to huge success as he forgets his old friends. Written by WesternOne

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama





Release Date:

30 January 1927 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Public Idol  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This was the opening film for the 16th San Francisco Silent Film Festival in 2011. See more »

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User Reviews

Not Your Typical Ford
2 December 2013 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Upstream (1927)

** (out of 4)

Whenever a lost film is discovered, it's always a reason to celebrate even if that film turns out not be a loser. That's pretty much the case with this forgotten John Ford film that turned up in a New Zealand archive in 2010. The film tells the story of Eric Brasingham (Earle Foxe), a poor actor who has an ego like the biggest stars in the world. He gets a lucky break and ends up becoming a hit on the London stage, which does nothing expect make his head much bigger. UPSTREAM, the title, refers to one character saying an actor must travel "upstream" if he wants to be a success. I really don't know too much about the history of this film other than it once being lost but I have to think that director Ford took this project not because he cared for the material but because the studio forced him. I say this because there's really nothing here that will remind fans of the director that he actually had anything to do with the picture. There's really none of his style, flare or energy to be found anywhere and it's rather amazing at how flat the comedy is. The film tries to be clever as well as tell a morality story but it fails on pretty much all levels. One of the biggest problems with the screenplay is that the main character is such a jerk that you don't care for him. You want to see him fail right from the start and when he becomes a success, you don't feel good for him but instead turn against him even more. The only time the screenplay comes to life are during some early scenes where we see a boarding house full of actors. One great scene has a couple song and dance men rehearsing, which causes the roof to partially cave in and getting stuff all over some people eating. UPSTREAM runs a very short 60- minutes, which is a good thing because anything longer and the film would have been a real chore to get through.

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Props to Michael Mortilla for a great soundtrack! humancomedy
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