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Forgotten Faces (1928)



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Cast overview:
Heliotrope Harry Harlow
Alice Deane
Lilly Harlow (as Baclanova)
Spider (Convict Number 1309)


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Plot Keywords:

underworld | See All (1) »






Release Date:

5 August 1928 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Heliotrope  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Paramount Pictures production numbers 709 and 1142 (for West Coast and New York offices). See more »


When convict number 1309 is found to be missing, an intertitle says "1309 is missing" but when we see the actor, the number on his prison uniform is 1329. See more »


Featured in David O. Selznick: 'Your New Producer' (1935) See more »

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User Reviews

unfairly forgotten
13 October 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is a gem of a silent, made as silent film was reaching its peak as an art form just before the dawn of sound with a cast that contains two stars that will not be that successful after that dawn, and one supporting player - William Powell - who will be catapulted to fame because of that dawn. WARNING - I will be spoiling Todd Browning's Freaks further down in the review.

The film starts out focusing on two dapper looking fellows as they stroll down the avenue - Clive Brook as Heliotrope Harry Harlow and William Powell as Froggy. These two dapper fellows turn out to be armed robbers, and tonight their target is an illegal gambling outfit inside a private home. 70 years before the term home invasion is coined, that is exactly what they do - burst on to the scene, guns drawn, and relieve the guests of their jewelry and cash. Harry lets one woman keep her wedding ring because "marriage is the only institution in which he has faith".

As the two bolt out and down the street, the police arrive, much too soon for anybody in the house to have called for them. Hmmm. Who could have ratted them out? The answer comes quick enough - Harry's wife, low life Lilly (Olga Baclanova). She is assuming Harry is not coming home because he's been arrested, so she leaves their baby crying in her crib while she adjourns to the bedroom for some fun with her boyfriend. When Harry comes home and finds she did double cross him, both sexually and criminally, he kills the other man dead, but lets Lilly live. He then scoops their baby girl up and puts her on the doorstep of a wealthy couple who have recently lost their child. After he knows she is safe he warns Froggy to stay out of trouble so he can watch over his little girl, and then Harry turns himself in to a policeman, only after ascertaining he is a family man and thus catching a killer on the loose will be good for his career and thus his family.

Fast forward in time and Lilly eventually finds her daughter, being raised by a good wealthy couple. The girl is 17 and engaged and Lilly wants to make a scarlet woman out of her just to get back at Harry - for what I don't know, after all he IS in jail for murder. So she goes to the prison to tell him just what she plans to do just so she can see his agony. Olga is doing a great job of being evil here, because by this point in the film, heck, when she first appeared on the screen for that matter, I was ready for the gang from Tod Browning's Freaks to show up four years early and turn her into a chicken.

Now Harry has years to serve on his sentence, Froggy is just not up to the task of outwitting Lilly, and Lilly is days away from showing up at her daughter's home with proof she is the rightful parent. How will Harry save his daughter's virtue? Watch and find out. That's probably not possible though because I saw this film at Capitolfest this August in Rome, NY and it had not been shown anywhere since its original run in 1928.

How good is it? I can love some silent films - I don't like all of them, but I just adored this one. But my husband was the true test. He's got very eclectic taste - he likes anything from Busby Berkeley to Iron Man, but he admits he does not "get" silent film. Well, he was on the edge of his seat - literally - through this entire movie and said he thought it was great. Criterion should do a deal with Paramount and the Library of Congress - who currently curates it - and get this out where people can see it.

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