The play opened on Broadway, New York City, New York, USA on 5 February 1924 and had 571 performances. In the cast were Guy D'Ennery (Frank Hyland), Helen Lowell (Mrs. Fisher), Lee Tracy (Joe) and Francis Pierlot. The popular play had 6 Broadway revivals, the last in 1992. See more »
This is the first sound version of George Kelly's THE SHOW OFF. There was a silent version starring Ford Sterling a few years earlier and two MGM versions later on, one starring Spencer Tracy and the other Red Skelton. This version starring Hal Skelly is technically the best of the sound versions, with sure-handed comedy construction and some interesting camera-work by Archie Stout. However, Skelly gives the worst recorded performance as the lead.
Aubrey Piper, the title character, is a tough role to play. He is an arrogant blow hard at the center of the play, so we must find something to like about him. The leads in the other versions showed flashes of uncertainty throughout the performances that showed self-awareness and humanized him. Skelly, with his performance loud enough for the stage, is nothing but bluster and bullying. The few early scenes of tenderness with Doris Hill, aren't enough. We don't care about Skelly, so we don't care about the movie. The technical issues mentioned above are enough to keep you watching, but it's certainly no masterpiece.
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