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The Matinee Idol (1928)

Passed  -  Comedy | Romance  -  14 March 1928 (USA)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 344 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 5 critic

A Broadway matinee idol famous for his black-face portrayals anonymously joins an amateur acting troupe and falls in love with the leading lady.

Director:

(as Frank R. Capra)

Writers:

(from the story "Come Back to Aaron"), (from the story "Come Back to Aaron"), 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Ginger Bolivar
Johnnie Walker ...
Don Wilson - aka Harry Mann
Ernest Hilliard ...
Arnold Wingate
Lionel Belmore ...
Jasper Bolivar
David Mir ...
Eric Barrymaine
Edit

Storyline

The famous matinee idol and blackface comedian, Don Wilson, heads out of town to escape adulation. There, calling himself Harry Mann, he accidentally joins a traveling acting troupe, and falls in love with Ginger Bolivar, who runs the troupe and stars in their Civil War melodrama. Don's producer sees the play, and thinks it's a comic masterpiece, and just what Don's Broadway show needs. But when Ginger finds out she's been played for a fool, will she forgive Don? Written by Kathy Li

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 March 1928 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bessie à Broadway  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(copyright length) | (1997 alternate)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was long thought lost until a nitrate print was rediscovered in the vaults of the Cinemateque Francais in the 1990s. See more »

Quotes

Title: Broadway - a street that runs north, south, and wild!
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Lady with the Torch (1999) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Amusing Early Capra Silent
15 December 2004 | by (Alexandria, VA) – See all my reviews

If this were not an early silent effort by master director Frank Capra, "The Matinée Idol" would likely have remained a lost film. However, this mildly amusing film has been found and restored, and it is well worth seeing to note how deft a director Capra was in his silent works. Led by an attractive pair of leads, Bessie Love and Johnny Walker, the familiar device of a bad stage play getting even worse during an inept performance is used to good effect here (actually used twice) and offers a few chuckles even to those who have seen this done to death in later films from "Auntie Mame" to "Noises Off." Unfortunately, as with many Capra films, there is a bitter aftertaste that lingers in the viewer's mind when the film is over. Using an honest effort by naive "country folks" as the object of amusement for "sophisticated" Broadway audiences is a cruel idea and forms the crux of the plot. Also, Capra has cast the lead actor as a black-face entertainer, which will make some viewers uncomfortable or even appalled, and Capra uses a gay "sissie" stereotype who is the object of other characters' derision, which is even more offensive to contemporary viewers. Although another use of black-face in a Capra film does not come to mind, he was not above using the "sissie" stereotype again, and it reappeared as the Edward Everett Horton character in "Lost Horizon." However, if one can overlook the dated plot and negative stereotyping, "The Matinée Idol" provides an hour of amusement and a peek at the formative years of a great film director.


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