The Show (1927)

THE SHOW (1927)
Article #795 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-19-2003
Posting Date: 10-16-2003
Directed by Tod Browning
Featuring John Gilbert, Renee Adoree, Lionel Barrymore

A lady-killer who works in a carnival falls afoul of both the police and the lover of his assistant.

Title-check: The title is pretty generic, as every movie is a show of some sort. Appropriate, but vague.

Like most of Tod Browning’s silent movies with Lon Chaney (who isn’t in this one), this movie is really a lurid melodrama with slight horror elements. And also like many of those movies, this one has a circus background; the show of the title is literally a freak show combined with a magic act, and includes a reenactment of the decapitation of John the Baptist. John Gilbert is in what would ordinarily have been the Lon Chaney role, but Gilbert is the more appropriate choice here, as he fits the look of someone who would be a ladykiller more than Chaney would, nor does the role require anything in the way of Chaney’s makeup expertise. Lionel Barrymore is at his most restrained in the role of violent gangster who is jealous of his girlfriend’s interest in Gilbert. All in all, this is a fairly entertaining entry in Browning’s oeuvre.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s