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Castro Theatre Fri, May 3, 2019 10:00 AM
Film Info
Director:William A. Wellman
Cast:Florence Vidor
Lowell Sherman
Clive Brook
El Brendel
Total Run Time:72 min.


Musical accompaniment by Philip Carli
The lovely Florence Vidor illuminates this tale of love nearly unrequited set among a Russian circus troupe touring the stateside circuit. When her head is turned by Lowell Sherman’s rakish dandy, her longtime performing partner Norodin, a daring magician and escape artist played by dashing British actor Clive Brook, waits patiently in the wings for her to come to her senses. A believable assortment of flying acrobats, tumblers, strongmen, and jugglers round out the supporting players for an exciting peak at the colorful backstage life of an itinerant vaudeville act. Directing is the legendary William A. Wellman, a year before his Academy Award-winning Wings gave him movie immortality, already demonstrating his nascent mastery for thrilling stunts, perfectly placed comic relief, and tender-hearted moments. Look out for vaudeville’s own El Brendel (with a goose act) and a slimmer, tuxedoed Eugene Pallette, in a small role as a frightfully ineffective wingman.

Print courtesy of Kino Lorber


Introduction by William Wellman Jr.


Copresented by Niles Essanay Silent Fim Museum

Additional Information

Musical accompaniment by Philip Carli

Philip Carli brings both prodigious musical talent and a committed scholarly outlook to his lifelong passion for the music and culture of the turn of the last century. He discovered silent film at the age of five and began his accompaniment career at thirteen, with a performance for Lon Chaney’s 1923 version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. While at college he programmed and accompanied an annual series of silent films, and also organized and conducted a 50-piece student orchestra using 19th-century performance practice. Since then, he has continued his studies of the film, music and culture of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, earning a doctorate from the Eastman School of Music. He has at the same time toured extensively as a film accompanist throughout North America and Europe, performing on keyboard and with orchestra at such venues as Lincoln Center and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Gallery in Washington, DC, the Cinémathèque Québécoise in Montreal, the National Film Theatre in London, and the Berlin International Film Festival. He is the staff accompanist for the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, New York, and performs annually at several film festivals in the United States as well as at Le Giornate del Cinema Muto in Italy.