This great silent film has it all, love, death and murder
Aug 28, 2010
Todd Browning’s 1927 silent film drama “The Show” released the same year the first “talkie” was released is a great work of the silent screen for several reasons. First, it had a great cast with the co-stars of John Gilbert (“Cock Robin”) and Lionel Barrymore (the “Greek”). Both actors play villains in the film. Their expressive acting really comes through to the audience.
Gilbert’s acting career was on a meteoric rise, right behind Rudolph Valentino in popularity with the ladies. However, John Gilbert in real life had a torrid affair with Greta Garbo and was left at the alter which devastated John and his career went down hill and MGM made sure his career was over.
Second, I think another reason that made this a popular movie is the script. Audiences always seem to enjoy seeing popular actors playing a “villain.” In this case, Gilbert plays an unscrupulous rake that preys on innocent young women by seducing them and extorting money from them. He has an excellent opportunity to do this being that he is a traveling “carnival/freak show barker” in Hungary. The gal in the film is Renee Adoree, (Salome), who is the “sex pot” in the travelling show and the jilted lover of Cock Robin, (I swear it sounds like a porno character). Though still in love with Robin, Salome’s dancing in the show attracts the attention of the local town gangster “the Greek”. Thus, the movie story line is a familiar love triangle with a twist. By the way, playing a villain for Barrymore is not tough type casting; he was often cast in this role throughout his film career; such as, the unscrupulous banker Henry F. Potter in the 1947 movie “It’s A Wonderful Life.”
This great silent film has it all, love, death and murder, what else could an audience ask for from “The Show.”
Great Barrymore line to his love interest who still has feelings for Gilbert’s character: "If it’s his heart you want I’ll cut it out and give it to you!"
For its 2007 TV debut, TMC added great melodic and haunting music for this crime drama silent movie.
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About the reviewer
Michael Neulander (MNeulander)
Recently graduated with a Masters in Humanities degree from Old Dominion University reading in philosophy and history. I graduated from the Univ. of Miami in 1980 with a B.A. in Political Science; specializing … more
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