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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Beggars Of Life (1928)

After killing her adopted father, a young girl (Louise Brooks) runs off with a drifter (Richard Arlen). Dressed as a boy, she and the drifter attempt to escape to Canada via the rails with the police in hot pursuit. Loosely based on the non fiction book by Jim Tully which Maxwell Anderson adapted into the play OUTSIDE LOOKING IN and directed by William A. Wellman (THE HIGH AND THE MIGHTY). This is a lovely film for the most part although it gets needlessly sentimental toward the film's end. Although Wallace Beery as a hobo thug gets top billing, the film belongs to Brooks and Arlen. Beery is very good though his character's change of heart toward the end seems arbitrary and out of character. But the film has an authentic feel to it, indeed many of the hobos and rail riders in the film were played by real hobos. There's a nicely done train crash at the end which was done without any special effects, they crashed a real train. After the filming was done, some minimal dialog and  sound effects were added post production without Wellman's blessing but the transfer I saw was the silent version Wellman preferred. With Roscoe Karns and Blue Washington.

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