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Illusion (1929)

Passed | | Drama, Music, Romance | 21 September 1929 (USA)
A vaudeville magician and his lady assistant break up their team, when he becomes infatuated with a socialite, only to get back together when she is almost killed in her new act gone wrong.


Lothar Mendes


Arthur Chesney Train (story) (as Arthur Train), E. Lloyd Sheldon (adaptation) | 2 more credits »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Charles 'Buddy' Rogers ... Carlee Thorpe
Nancy Carroll ... Claire Jernigan
June Collyer ... Hilda Schmittlap
Kay Francis ... Zelda Paxton
Regis Toomey ... Eric Schmittlap
Knute Erickson ... Mr. Jacob Schmittlap
Eugenie Besserer ... Mrs. Jacob Schmittlap
Maude Turner Gordon ... Queen of Dalmatia
William Austin ... Mr. Z
Emilie Melville Emilie Melville ... Mother Fay
Frances Raymond ... Mrs. Y
Catherine Wallace Catherine Wallace ... Mrs. Z
J.E. Nash J.E. Nash ... Mr. X
William McLaughlin William McLaughlin ... Mr. Y
Eddie Kane Eddie Kane ... Gus Bloomberg


When vaudevillian Carlee Thorpe falls for a high society woman, he leaves the show, breaking up his magic act, and the heart of his partner, Claire Jernigan. Claire goes on to team up with another performer. A gun in the act is supposed to shoot blanks, but she leaves it with real bullets and almost dies after being shot during a show. Carlee happens to be in the audience, and this shocks him to his senses, and returns to Claire. Written by WesternOne1

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Smashing through society's glitter to the real thing! Love! the thrilling lovers of "Close Harmony" in a singing, dancing, throbbing back stage love story. (Print Ad-DeKalb Daily Chronicle, ((DeKalb, Ills.)) 24 October 1929) See more »


Drama | Music | Romance



Did You Know?


One of the earliest of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. However, because of legal complications, this particular title was not included in the original television package and may not have ever been televised. See more »


Revolutionary Rhythm
Written by Lou Davis, J. Fred Coots, Sam Coslow and Larry Spier
Copyright 1929 by Remick Music Corp.
See more »

User Reviews

Backstager with the chemistry of Rogers and Carroll
16 August 2015 | by AlsExGalSee all my reviews

Buddy Rogers and Nancy Carroll play Carlee Thorpe and Claire Jernigan, respectively. They are members of a traveling circus/vaudeville troupe, and they obviously have romantic feelings for one another but their pride gets in the way. What also gets in the way is Carlee's desire to be accepted as part of high society. He is good at cards and card tricks due to his place in the circus, so he uses that ability to get into games with the high society audiences that his troupe plays before. As a result, he begins to spark up a romance with débutante Hilda Schmittlap (June Colyer). The thing is, Hilda is a bit of an outsider too since her family is "noveau riche" - her dad is a self made man and started out as a truck driver. Although such things are a source of admiration today, in the 20's and before the older and more tired your blue blood was, the more you were admired. Thus the Schmittlaps are considered a bit of a joke in the society crowd.

Meanwhile, Hilda's brother, Eric, is a loafer and a lady's man, and he has an eye for Claire. Claire at first refuses his offers of dates, but when the head of the circus says that the best way to get Carlee might be to make him think that she has lost interest, she starts going out with Eric.

One of the big acts that the circus has is a firing squad trick in which 5 men are chosen from the audience at random to shoot real bullets at Claire as she stands on the stage. The bullets miss her and wind up on a plate she holds in front of her instead. The act is such a hit that the pair get a big offer from an agent to do their act independently, but Carlee turns the offer down, leaving Claire in the lurch. Carlee wants to spend his time wooing Hilda.

There is a big finale at the Schmittlap home with the circus playing there, Carlee talking matrimony to Hilda, and Claire feeling like she has lost Carlee as she sees him with another woman. And then there is the big firing squad trick finale with Claire and her new partner...What happens? I'd say watch and find out but that is unlikely since the only time I've seen this one anywhere was at Capitolfest 2015.

Why haven't I mentioned Kay Francis? Because although she does show up she has only a few lines. It will be 1930 before Kay reaches star status over at Paramount. For film buffs this is definitely worth your time if it ever comes your way.

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Release Date:

21 September 1929 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ilusão See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (MovieTone)| Mono (Western Electric System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »

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