IMDb > The Great Gabbo (1929)
The Great Gabbo
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The Great Gabbo (1929) More at IMDbPro »

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6.2/10   560 votes »
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Popularity: ?
Down 7% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Ben Hecht (adapted from the story by)
Hugh Herbert (dialogue)
View company contact information for The Great Gabbo on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
12 September 1929 (USA) See more »
Hated by all-his real soul spoke through the lips of a lifeless dummy (Print Ad- New York Evening Post, ((New York, NY)) 12 September 1929)
An insanely, egocentric ventriloquist, even though he is possessed by his wooden dummy, is in love with a dancer who is in love with another. The dummy gives advice to the ventriloquist. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
(4 articles)
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User Reviews:
disappointing film, powerful performances See more (21 total) »


  (in credits order)

Erich von Stroheim ... Gabbo (as Eric Von Stroheim)

Betty Compson ... Mary

Donald Douglas ... Frank
Marjorie Kane ... Babe (as Margie 'Babe' Kane)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

George Grandee ... Otto (voice) (uncredited)
John F. Hamilton ... Neighbour (uncredited)
Harry Ross ... Performer (uncredited)
Marbeth Wright ... Dancer (uncredited)

Directed by
James Cruze 
Erich von Stroheim (uncredited)
Writing credits
Ben Hecht (adapted from the story by)

Hugh Herbert (dialogue)

Produced by
Nat Cordish .... executive producer
James Cruze .... producer
Henry D. Meyer .... executive producer
Cinematography by
Ira H. Morgan 
Art Direction by
Robert E. Lee 
Costume Design by
Production Management
Vernon Keays .... production manager
Art Department
Bruce Weyman .... assistant art director
Sound Department
Helmer Walton Bergman .... sound supervisor (as Helmar Bergman)
Special Effects by
Barney Wolff .... special effects assistant
Music Department
Lynn Cowan .... musical compositions
Howard Jackson .... music arrangements
Donald McNamee .... musical compositions
Paul Titsworth .... musical compositions
King Zany .... musical compositions
Other crew
Nat Cordish .... presenter
Hugh Herbert .... continuity
Maurice L. Kusell .... dances arranged by
Henry D. Meyer .... presenter
Bernard Smith .... presenter: United Kingdom only
Maurice L. Kusell .... choreographer (uncredited)

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
92 min
Black and White | Color (Multicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.20 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric System)
UK:U (tv rating) | USA:Passed (National Board of Review)

Did You Know?

The dummy Otto was a hand carved basswood Frank Marshall figure. The same man who designed Edgar Bergen's famous characters Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd.See more »
[first lines]
Mary:Oh, I see a move. Look - eight on the nine, and then your King comes up, and that plays a Queen.
Gabbo:Will you leave these cards alone? You think you can show me something?
See more »
Movie Connections:
Web of LoveSee more »


What is the name of Gabbo's dummy?
List: Ventriloquists who have disturbing relationships with their dummies.
Can I watch this film online?
See more »
10 out of 20 people found the following review useful.
disappointing film, powerful performances, 23 July 2002
Author: claudecat from United States

Though I agree with previous reviewers' comments about the good performances turned in by Erich Von Stroheim and Betty Compson, I thought the movie was disappointing overall. There isn't really much of a story, the dramatic scenes are often slow, and the rather bizarre musical numbers are poorly integrated into the plot. I'm not sure why this movie isn't classified as a musical, though; it has as many numbers as "42nd Street" and other similar titles from about the same period. Unfortunately, as a previous reviewer said, these scenes are not as creatively done as those by Busby Berkeley; the choreography is often unappealing, and the dancers don't look very well-rehearsed, though there are some bright spots.

Interestingly, the contemporary "Variety" review mentioned a color sequence in the film, which was not present on the Video Yesteryear VHS copy I watched. I wonder if this piece is lost, or available on other editions?

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (21 total) »


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