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The Matinee Idol (1928)

Passed | | Comedy, Romance | 14 March 1928 (USA)
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:

Frank Capra (as Frank R. Capra)

Writers:

Robert Lord (from the story "Come Back to Aaron"), Ernest Pagano (from the story "Come Back to Aaron") | 2 more credits »
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Cast

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

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 March 1928 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bessie à Broadway See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(copyright length) | (1997 alternate)

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Long thought lost until a nitrate print was rediscovered in the vaults of the Cinemateque Francais in the 1990s. 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

 
A long-lost treasure, lovingly restored!
20 February 2007 | by JohnHowardReidSee all my reviews

A lightweight but simply charming and absolutely delightful fairy tale, most ingratiatingly acted by all concerned, beautifully photographed, very cleverly scripted and most astutely directed. It's surprising that personable Johnnie Walker didn't go on to a big career in talkies. Bessie, of course, is simply captivating.

Some carping critics have complained that the hick actors in the story were cruelly treated. On the contrary, they were handled like royalty. All the actors I know (and I've known lots of actors in my time) would quickly have appropriated the plaudits of the crowd as a fitting reflection of their deliberate art. I remember Cecil Kellaway after a preview bemoaning to the manager that his performance was not supposed to be funny and that the audience had laughed in all the wrong places. But as moviegoers started to come out of the theater and people spied him talking to the manager, suddenly he was surrounded by a cheering crowd with everyone congratulating him on his superbly comic performance. Did Cecil try to reason with his fans and tell them they were all wrong? No fear! On the contrary, he swelled with pride and heartily thanked them for their perspicacity and their keen appreciation of his comic endeavors.


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