1939, 20th Century Fox, 97 min, USA, Dir: Irving Cummings, Malcolm St. Clair

In Daryl Zanuck’s pet project, 20th Century Fox Golden Girl Alice Fay is Molly Adair, a toiling New York stage actress who is lured into the fledgling motion picture business in 1913 by an ambitious young director (Don Ameche). Her career rises and his declines as the film takes us through the silent years, recreating productions of the slapstick comedies that defined the era - from Keystone Cops to pies in the face, bathing beauties and finally the first sound movie, THE JAZZ SINGER. It’s a treat to see the real Buster Keaton and Al Jolson play themselves re-creating elements of their own careers - in Technicolor! Renowned slapstick director Mack Sennett served as technical advisor and the scenario is said to be a thinly-veiled version of his love story with actress Mabel Normand. Also with silent cinema legend Rin Tin Tin.

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