The Show (1927)
Director: Tod Browning
Written by: Joseph Farnham, Screenplay by Waldemar Young, based on THE DAY OF SOULS by Joseph Farnham
Starring: John Gilbert, Renée Adorée, Lionel Barrymore, Edward Connelly.
Tagline: Strange were these figures in the show the crowds gaped at. But stranger by far the drama of underworld life they played back of the scenes! An amazing romance, a lurid tale of a rogue, torn between baser passions and a girl’s redeeming love.
Cock Robin (Gilbert) is the star of a sideshow. Robin is a handsome ladies man. He has a charisma about him that he puts to use drawing in crowds to see the human oddities. Robin also participates in the acts. After the shows are over, Robin always has female admirers waiting for the chance to pay for his dinner and spend the evening with him. Robin’s behavior doesn’t endear him to other members of the sideshow. The women are disappointed and the men jealous.
One of Robin’s admirers is a young woman named Lena. Robin learns that Lena’s father is wealthy. Perhaps, it is time to settle down. Perhaps not.
When Lena’s father is killed in an attempted robbery, Robin becomes the main suspect. Someone in the show has set him up. But who? And is there anyone who will help him clear his name?
Thoughts (beware of spoilers)
Tod Browning who would go on to direct Dracula and (the more closely related to The Show) Freaks. Browning was the perfect person to direct this.
John Gilbert displays the charisma needed to play the lead. The great Lionel Barrymore as the villain. What more could we want?