Harriet and Queenie Mahoney, a vaudeville act, come to Broadway, where their friend Eddie Kerns needs them for his number in one of Francis Zanfield's shows. Eddie was in love with Harriet,... See full summary »
Wealthy Cynthia is in love with not-so-wealthy Roger, who is married to Marcia. The threesome is terribly modern about the situation, and Marcia will gladly divorce Roger if Cynthia agrees ... See full summary »
Cecil B. DeMille
After accidentally killing the key witness to a crime, a mysterious drifter turns himself to the law, under a false name intending to protect his own family. But when the news of his ... See full summary »
William K. Howard
Johnny Mack Brown
A woman who owns a boarding house winds up being the "mother hen" to the assorted mobsters and racketeers who live there. When her foster son decides to take the blame for a murder that was... See full summary »
John Francis Dillon
Douglas Fairbanks Jr.,
A tour guide in Venice romances a visiting American tourist whose father owns a chewing-gum factory back in the U.S. She sets out to convince her skeptical father to bring the tour guide to America and give him a job in the plant.
Didn't think I would like this one as much as I did. I don't really care for circus/carnival movies, although I thoroughly enjoyed "Nightmare Alley" and didn't think it could be topped. So I was pleasantly surprised by "The Barker", an earthy, sweaty character study of a troupe of traveling 'carnys'.
An even bigger surprise was the towering performance of Milton Sills, a name I had only heard in movie reference books. His portrayal of Nifty Miller, a world-weary, morally unstable carnival barker nearly knocked me to the ground, to coin a phrase. His libidinous, self-indulgent world comes to a screeching halt with the arrival of his son,Chris, played by Douglas Fairbanks,Jr. who promptly falls in love with Bimbo-With-a-Heart Dorothy Mackaill. Naturally,complications arise but the whole movie comes to life when Sills, who as a reader above mentioned, looks like a slim Walter Matthau, is on the screen.
This is a very unusual film in that it is part sound and part silent. I found it jarring to go from 'talkie'to dialogue cards without warning but I have since learned that the UCLA film Dept. has restored this 'part-talkie', and that most others of this kind have been lost entirely. In fact, The last few feet of the film were lost and a still shot has been put in its place while the sound continues. Also, unless I miss my guess, that is Herman Mankiewicz himself, who has a writer credit on this film, playing a ukelele in the trio accompanying Betty Compson in her Hawaiian dance numbers. Could be a Hollywood 'inside joke'.
This one may be tough to come by but if you get the opportunity, don't miss it.
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