An American silent film classic, Beggars of Life (1928) stars Louise Brooks as a train-hopping hobo who dresses like a boy to survive. After escaping her violent stepfather, Nancy (Brooks) befriends kindly drifter Jim (Richard Arlen). They ride the rails together until a fateful encounter with the blustery Oklahoma Red (Wallace Beery) and his rambunctious band of hoboes, leading to daring, desperate conflict on top of a moving train. Based on the memoir of real-life hobo Jim Tully, and directed with adventuresome verve by William Wellman (The Ox-Bow Incident), Beggars of Life is an essential American original.
Special Features: Digitally restored from 35mm film elements preserved by the George Eastman Museum | Audio commentary by actor William Wellman, Jr. | Audio commentary by Thomas Gladysz, founding director of the Louise Brooks Society | Booklet essay by film critic Nick Pinkerton | Musical score compiled and performed by The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra, employing selections from the original 1928 Paramount cue-sheet
The film is available directly from Kino Lorber, as well as through amazon.com, B&N and other outlets.
This first ever study of Beggars of Life looks at the film Oscar-winning director William Wellman thought his finest silent movie. Based on Jim Tully’s bestselling book of hobo life—and filmed by Wellman the year after he made Wings (the first film to win the Best Picture Oscar), Beggars of Life is a riveting drama about an orphan girl (screen legend Louise Brooks) who kills her abusive stepfather and flees the law. She meets a boy tramp (leading man Richard Arlen), and together they ride the rails through a dangerous hobo underground ruled over by Oklahoma Red (future Oscar winner Wallace Beery). Beggars of Life showcases Brooks in her best American silent—a film the Cleveland Plain Dealer described as “a raw, sometimes bleeding slice of life.”
"Beggars of Life: A Companion to the 1928 Film is a quick, satisfying read, illustrated with promotional material, posters and stills as well as press clippings. In these pages, Gladysz takes us through the making and the reception of the film and clears up a few mysteries too.... Beggars of Life is a fascinating movie, made by some of the silent film industry's most colourful characters. This highly readable book will deepen your enjoyment and understanding of a silent Hollywood classic." -- Pamela Hutchinson, Silent London
"I cannot help but give this an enthusiastic two thumbs up. It really is the perfect companion, before or after you have seen the film. The volume might be slim, but, it is packed with information and rare photographs. It has been impeccably researched and beautifully executed.... This is a thorough examination of the film from start to finish and written in a breezy style that is not only informative, it is a very entertaining read." -- Donna Hill, Strictly Vintage Hollywood