Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Show-Off - a round-up of reviews

The Show-Off, Louise Brooks' fifth film, was officially released on this day in 1926. The film is a comedy-drama about an insufferable braggart who disrupts the lives of a middle-class family. We all know the type, don't we?

The film stars Ford Sterling as Audrey Piper (the braggart), Lois Wilson as Amy Fisher Piper, Louise Brooks as Clara-Joe's Girl, Gregory Kelly as Joe Fisher, Claire McDowell as Mom Fisher, and C.W. Goodrich as Pop Fisher. The film, adapted from the stage play by George Kelly, was directed by Malcolm St. Clair. The screenplay is by Pierre Collings.

The film is very good, and is one of Brooks' best roles in a light drama. The Show-Off received many positive notices - as well as negative reviews, as did Brooks, whose part was somewhat limited. Here is a round up of magazine and newspaper reviews and articles drawn from the Louise Brooks Society archive.


Tinee, Mae. "Ford Sterling Almost a Perfect Bumptious, Bombastic Show Off." Chicago Tribune, July 7, 1926.
--- " . . . splendidly cast and acted."

Reel, Rob. "You'll Remember and Like Ford Sterling as Show Off." Chicago Evening American, July 27, 1926.
--- " . . . is well done, and a lot of fun. You ought to like it."

anonymous. "A Hit on the Stage; as Good on the Screen." Chicago Evening Post, July 30, 1926.
--- "Louise Brooks and George Kelly also handle their parts most effectively."

anonymous. "Two New Films Hold Fans Interest." Los Angeles Evening Herald, August 7, 1926.
--- "The cast includes Louise Brooks, who does a bit of excellent acting."

Harrison, P. S. "The Show Off - with Ford Sterling, Lois Wilson, Louise Brooks and Gregory Kelly." Harrison's Reports, August 7, 1926.
--- "Louise Brooks makes a good sweetheart of the heroine's brother; in the scenes where she is shown upbraiding the hero for having brought misery upon the heroine's family, she is very good."

Moulton, Herbert. "Sterling Shines in Show-Off." Los Angeles Times, August 7, 1926.
--- "The sweetheart of the brother is played by Louise Brooks, who does well in a negligible role."

anonymous. "The Show-Off at Metropolitan." Boston Herald, August 10, 1926.
--- "Louise Brooks is the Clara. The movie people decided that the unhappily married sister of the play was not suited to Louise, so the movie Clara turns up as a next-door neighbor, Joe's girl friend. Miss Brooks has little to do but wear form-revealing gowns and ever so often uteer a 'wise crack,' for all titles of this nature are put right in her mouth."

anonymous. "The Show-Off Less Interesting as Photoplay Than on Stage." New York Post, August 23, 1926.
--- "Louise Brooks as Clara has very little to do, but she made a charming picture."

Cohen Jr., John S. "Picture Plays and Players." New York Sun, August 23, 1926.
--- "Directed by Malcolm St. Clair, the film boasts of exceptional naturalistic acting on the part of Ford Sterling, Lois Wilson, Claire McDowell, C. W. Goodrich, Gregory Kelly and - in one sequence - Louise Brooks. . . . Miss Brooks is best in the scene where she burlesques the pantomime employed by Mr. Sterling to describe his automobile experience."

Hall, Mordaunt. "The Braggart." New York Times, August 23, 1926.
--- "Louise Brooks, an emphatic type, with her dark hair and eyes and straight eyebrows, is bound to be noticed. Her histrionic efforts in this picture, however, are negligible."

Herzog, Dorothy. "The Show Off." Daily Mirror, August 23, 1926.
--- "Louise Brooks spitfires, prisses, oogles and calls it a day of heavy emoting. Miss Brooks is a distinct type, but she seems to suffer from inefficient direction and miscasting. She also appears a trifle rounded, for and aft, in this opera, but this may be due to her skin-tight dresses."

anonymous. "Show-Off at California." San Francisco Bulletin, August 30, 1926.
--- " . . . one of the best comedies of the American screen."

Swint, Curran D. "The Show Off at California." San Francisco News, August 30, 1926.
--- "A romance has been developed between Joe Fisher, the inventor son, given a distinctive performance by Gregory Kelly, and girl next door, fetchingly portrayed by Louise Brooks."

Aston, Frank. "Comedy of Home Seen in Show-Off." Cincinnati Post, September 6, 1926.
--- "And henceforth and forever when we think of The Show-Off we shall picture Louise Brooks and her display of hosiery."

Sargent, Epes W. "Ford Sterling Scores Heavily in Stage Success That Makes Thoroughly Enjoyable Audience Film." Moving Picture World, September 11, 1926.
--- "Louise Brooks, Gregory Kelly and C.W. Goodrich form the remaining members of the essential cast."


Sherwood, Robert E. "The Silent Drama." Life, September 16, 1926.
--- "He has taken a simple play of average American life and made a genuinely tender, touching, sympathetic picture of it. . . . a worthy reproduction of a great comedy."




O., H. H. "Stage and Screen." Ann Arbor Times News, September 28, 1926.
--- "Louise Brooks as Clara, her sister, almost runs away with the picture."

anonymous. "Stage and Screen." Kalamazoo Gazette, November 8, 1926.
--- "The Show Off has caught the fancy of the town."

Lusk, Norbert. "The Screen in Review: We All Know Him." Picture-Play, December, 1926.
-- "Lois Wilson tossed aside opportunities for shrewd characterization by wearing Paris frocks as a daughter of the Philadelphia poor. Louise Brooks, another little sister of poverty, likewise offended."
O., H. H. "Stage and Screen." Ann Arbor Times News, September 28, 1926.
--- "Louise Brooks as Clara, her sister, almost runs away with the picture."

anonymous. "Stage and Screen." Kalamazoo Gazette, November 8, 1926.
--- "The Show Off has caught the fancy of the town."

Lusk, Norbert. "The Screen in Review: We All Know Him." Picture-Play, December, 1926.
-- "Lois Wilson tossed aside opportunities for shrewd characterization by wearing Paris frocks as a daughter of the Philadelphia poor. Louise Brooks, another little sister of poverty, likewise offended."

Sherwood, Robert. "The Film of the Month." McCall's, December, 1926.
--- named a recommended film

Lane, Tamar. "Best Pictures and Performances of 1926." Film Mercury, December 10, 1926.
--- named one of the best eight films of the year in film trade journal

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