7.2/10
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4 user 4 critic

The Barker (1928)

Passed | | Drama, Romance | 9 December 1928 (USA)
A carnival barker wants his son to become a lawyer, but his son gets side-tracked into joining the carnival too.

Director:

George Fitzmaurice

Writers:

Kenyon Nicholson (based on a play by) (as John Kenyon Nicholson), Benjamin Glazer (scenario) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Milton Sills ... Nifty Miller
Dorothy Mackaill ... Lou
Betty Compson ... Carrie
Douglas Fairbanks Jr. ... Chris Miller
Sylvia Ashton Sylvia Ashton ... Ma Benson
George Cooper ... Hap Spissel
S.S. Simon S.S. Simon ... Col. Gowdy
One-Eye Connelly One-Eye Connelly ... Carny
Tom Dugan ... Stuttering Spieler
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Storyline

A carnival barker wants his son to become a lawyer, but his son gets side-tracked into joining the carnival too.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Step Right This Way! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 December 1928 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Step Right This Way See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (UCLA Film and Television Archive Print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Vitaphone) (talking sequences)| Silent (alternate version)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Betty Compson won an best-actress Oscar nomination for this early part-talkie. See more »

Connections

Version of Diamond Horseshoe (1945) See more »

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User Reviews

Hey Rube!
13 August 2009 | by GManfredSee all my reviews

Didn't think I would like this one as much as I did. I don't really care for circus/carnival movies, although I thoroughly enjoyed "Nightmare Alley" and didn't think it could be topped. So I was pleasantly surprised by "The Barker", an earthy, sweaty character study of a troupe of traveling 'carnys'.

An even bigger surprise was the towering performance of Milton Sills, a name I had only heard in movie reference books. His portrayal of Nifty Miller, a world-weary, morally unstable carnival barker nearly knocked me to the ground, to coin a phrase. His libidinous, self-indulgent world comes to a screeching halt with the arrival of his son,Chris, played by Douglas Fairbanks,Jr. who promptly falls in love with Bimbo-With-a-Heart Dorothy Mackaill. Naturally,complications arise but the whole movie comes to life when Sills, who as a reader above mentioned, looks like a slim Walter Matthau, is on the screen.

This is a very unusual film in that it is part sound and part silent. I found it jarring to go from 'talkie'to dialogue cards without warning but I have since learned that the UCLA film Dept. has restored this 'part-talkie', and that most others of this kind have been lost entirely. In fact, The last few feet of the film were lost and a still shot has been put in its place while the sound continues. Also, unless I miss my guess, that is Herman Mankiewicz himself, who has a writer credit on this film, playing a ukelele in the trio accompanying Betty Compson in her Hawaiian dance numbers. Could be a Hollywood 'inside joke'.

This one may be tough to come by but if you get the opportunity, don't miss it.


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