Show Folks (1928)

Show Folks Poster

Eddie Kehoe is a young vaudeville hoofer who thinks his inability to hit the big time is the fault of stage managers, agents, musicians...everybody but himself. Eddie likes to tell others how good he is, but seldom shows them. Kitty Mayo, an old-time burlesque queen, who is with the McNary Vaudeville Company, advises Eddie to get himself a partner, as his solo abilities can only be stretched so far. He decides to follow her advice and, while in a theatrical supply shop, he sees Rita Carey rehearsing her dancing act that includes a trained duck. Eddie tells Rita he is a good friend of McNary's, and, with him as her partner, her future in show business will be secured. She agrees to join him and Eddie promptly names the act "Eddie Kehoe and Partner". Despite his conceit, Rita likes Eddie, as do others in the troupe, including Cleo a little gold-digger.

"Show Folks" is a silent film directed by Paul L. Stein, released in 1928. The screenplay was composed by Beatrice Van, based on a story by Frederick and Fanny Hatton. The movie starred Eddie Quillan, Lina Basquette, and Carole Lombard, amongst others. The interesting drama was produced by Cecil B. DeMille and released through Pathé Exchange.

The story follows the ambitious young dancer, 'Dixie Mason,' played by Lina Basquette, who wishes for popularity and fortune as a performer. As the story unfolds, she gets an opportunity to sign up with a carnival caravan, giving her the possibility to showcase her dancing talents. Unknown to her, the carnival is not as glamorous as she prepares for.

Eddie Kehoe, played by Eddie Quillan, is another significant character in the movie. He is a valuable and kind-hearted carnival entertainer, who develops an immediate affection for Dixie. He tries to function as her protector and guide throughout the story.

Dispute and Resolution
Yet, as the movie progresses, Dixie faces numerous barriers that threaten her dreams. She locks horns with the carnival's ruthless and mean-spirited operator, James 'Jim' Hartigan, played by Robert Edeson. Hartigan attempts to exploit her talents without offering her with just benefits.

Carole Lombard plays the function of James Hartigan's child, who is stereotypically atrocious and thwarts Dixie at every turn, driven by jealousy over Dixie's growing appeal and her father's favoring of her. This causes numerous intriguing rely on the plot.

Dixie then comes across a 'ballyhoo,' an exotically-dressed group of entertainers accompanying the carnival. These performers introduce her to the heady enjoyment, difficult work conditions, and risk-filled environment of the carnival. Simultaneously, Kehoe, the kind gentleman, constantly waits her side giving more strength to their ever-evolving affectionate relationship.

In the climax, the fates of the characters intertwine in the middle of a swirl of drama involving jealousy, fights, and eventual reconciliation. Eddie Kehoe saves Dixie from the circus's hard conditions and Hartigan's exploitative practices, eventually leading to a remarkable finale where justice is served.

Although the movie was released in the silent movie period, "Show Folks" is celebrated for its storytelling, lovely performances of the leads, and skillful direction. It portrays the carnival life of the 1920s, highlighting the battles faced by performers. The movie was long thought to be lost but was later rediscovered and effectively archived. It now stands as a considerable achievement in movie history, using insight into the early days of movie theater, the structure of carnivals, and life for entertainers during the 1920s.

In essence, "Show Folks" is a dramatic tale of aspiration, battle, strength, and romance, set versus the backdrop of a travelling amusement program. The movie stays an appealing watch for those interested in quiet movies and the history of the cinema.

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