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Menton Gill is longing to become a cowboy actor and leaves his hometown to try his luck in Hollywood, but there his acting ability is regarded as non-existent. Actress Flips gives him a chance in a bit part, but he fails in that; however, the way he fails makes her think that he could be a good comedian. She persuades the studio to put him in a western parody, not telling him what they're really planing, because they know that he does not like comedies. Rather than ending tragic-comically, the movie becomes a brilliant coda to art and its servants, the artists, in this case the magniloquent Joan Blondell and Stuart Erwin. Written by
Stephan Eichenberg <email@example.com>
Billed as a comedy about a gormless man who becomes a Hollywood star, this is actually a moving drama about the savageness of the film industry. Stuart Erwin is very fine as the young man, an innocent lost in the wilds of Hollywood. His performance is reminiscent of the performances of Charles Ray in silent films, a winning combination of warmth and naivety. The character wants to be a a serious actor, but his attempts at drama cause only laughter. After describing one such incident Blondell responds to "That must have been funny" with "Only if you find coal-mine explosions funny". Blondell, as a fellow actor, understands Erwin's pain - her performance is also excellent.
Finally Erwin is tricked into making a comedy film - which he believes is a drama. His devastation at the preview, as the crowd roar with laughter around him, will move you to tears.
Sadly the film ends too abruptly without resolving these complex issues. And the stars making "guest appearances" actually just walk through - a shame that something more imaginative wasn't done with them - and Zasu Pitts only has a tiny role (still funny though).
Great to see how early talkies were made - look at the size of the camera with all that casing to mask the noise. Make sure you see this moving "comedy" - most worthwhile. And afterwards see "Show People" (1928) to see how the talkies transformed Hollywood so quickly.
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