ming movie reviews

in about 100 words or less

Beggars of Life (1928)

US 100m, B&W, Silent
Director: William A. Wellman; Cast: Wallace Beery, Louise Brooks, Richard Arlen

Beggars of Life is a melodrama about a young woman who takes to a life on the run after the death of her abusive stepfather. Wanted by police, the girl (Brooks) disguised as a boy, comes to find herself riding the rails with a group of unlikely friends. Released in both sound and silent formats, and thought lost for many years, the silent version of Beggars is noteworthy not only for Brooks’s appearance, but for its cinematography and on-location shoots, not to mention the alarmingly dangerous looking train sequences (Klaus Ming March 2017).


2 comments on “Beggars of Life (1928)

  1. Hoosier X

    I was lucky enough to see this in a theater in Los Angeles with an audience and a guy playing the organ! (The Silent Movie house on Fairfax.) Great movie! By far Louise Brooks’s best American movie! It should be more well known.

    I didn’t know there was a sound version. Does it have dialogue, or is it one of those strange hybrids like Wild Orchids or Our Dancing Daughters that has sound effects but no spoken words?

    • Klaus

      Wow, i’m jealous!

      Apparently, according to the TCM site, the sound version included “talking sequences and musical score”. And a recent Huffington Post article stated:

      “Though shot as a silent, Beggars of Life has the distinction of being considered Paramount’s first sound film: a synchronized musical score, sound effects, and a song were added at the time of its release. Early advertisements for the 1928 film even boasted “Come hear Wallace Beery sing!” The gravel-voiced character actor and future Oscar winner plays Oklahoma Red, a tough hobo with a soft heart. Richard Arlen, who the year before had starred in Wings, plays Brooks’ romantic interest”.


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This entry was posted on 03/07/2017 by in 1920s, All, Unlisted and tagged .
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