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The Matinee Idol (1928)

Passed  |   |  Comedy, Romance  |  14 March 1928 (USA)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 366 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 6 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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Title: The Matinee Idol (1928)

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Cast

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

There is no cast list in the film; Bessie Love and Johnnie Walker are on the title page and are listed first. All the credited cast are then introduced by intertitle frames which also provide their character names, just before they are shown onscreen. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

Remade as The Music Goes 'Round (1936) See more »

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User Reviews

Charming Film From Capra
7 January 2010 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Matinée Idol, The (1928)

*** (out of 4)

Charming silent film from Capra has a famous actor (Johnnie Walker) deciding to take a vacation to the country where he ends up, accidentally, in a small play where he gets fired by the lead actress (Bessie Love). To play a joke, the actor and his producers decide to take this small play to Broadway but they don't tell the lady that she just fired a famous face. This film was for many decades considered lost before a print turned up and it's good that it did because this is an extremely charming little gem that has the perfect mix of romance, comedy and drama. I was really surprised at how entertaining this film was but it's got a pretty smart little story even though you will have a hard time believing that this actress wouldn't be able to tell that both actors playing against her was the same person. I think Capra handles the material quite well and really delivers an entertaining film. What I enjoyed most is that the film seemed so natural and so smart that you really did get a feel as if you were really watching and seeing a small town acting squad. I've read that Capra learned from these types of groups growing up and it really seems like there's a lot of love being thrown towards these small actors and plays that are often overlooked. The comedy of the film works quite well as the play itself, a real misfire, is actually very funny even if the country actors feel like they're doing dramatic work. We get to see the play acted out twice and each time the film is able to get many laughs. The more dramatic stuff also works well because we can all understand the hurt feeling of trying to be and thinking you're doing good work only to have people laugh at you. Walker and Love both turn in fine performances and their chemistry together also makes the film even better. Love clearly steals the film with her charm and energy that practically jumps off the screen. Johnnie Walkers character is called the greatest "Black Face Comedian" and it seems to be an off note of Al Jolson but it's still pretty good. This isn't one of Capra's best known films and while it's not as powerful as some of his later day stuff, there's still enough here to make it worth viewing.


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