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Behind The Make-Up (1930) DVD

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Behind The Make-Up (1930)


Robert Milton, Dorothy Arzner (uncredited)


Mildred Cram (story "The Feeder"), Howard Estabrook (adapted by)


Hal Skelly, William Powell, Fay Wray

In this convoluted drama, the jolly painted face of a circus clown is but a mask for an avaricious, ruthlessly ambitious, and deceitful man. Hap is performing in small New Orleans clubs when he saves the life of the starving Gardino, a member of a distinguished family of European clowns. Though impoverished and unemployed, Gardino is determined to avoid the family slapstick and become a "serious" performer of high-class clowning. Hap suggests they team up, but thanks to Gardino's refusal to do slapstick, their act is a dud. Gardino leaves in a huff. Later Hap finds his former partner performing Hap's proposed act with a new partner. He is doing quite well, and when he sees Hap, Gardino apologizes and they again team up. This time Gardino insists on star billing. To make matters worse, he steals Hap's girl and they marry. The honeymoon is barely over before Gardino is playing around with other women and gambling away all of their money. After his latest affair goes bust, Gardino grows despondent and so walks into the sea, never looking back.

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  1. Before the Thin Man 4 Star Review

    Posted by on May 30th 2021

    Likely, you never heard of this film before. I know I hadn't. Saw it on Zeus and decided to take a chance on it. I am glad I did. The film stars William Powell, Fay Wray and Kay Francis. Contrary to the nice guy persona he developed later on, Powell plays a real louse. Moreover, he does it with an Italian accent! That's right, an Italian accent! In fact, he does it so well, you would swear he was Italian! Powell plays a Vaudeville performer who steals his partner's act, his girl friend and his money! Like I said, a real louse! Wray is the long suffering girl friend and Kay Francis is the other woman. The movie is well-acted throughout. The quality of the print is good. This is not likely to show up anywhere. If you are a movie buff and want to see something a bit different, I would highly recommend this film. Over time, I have found Zeus the place to go for rare, seldom seen movies. You won't be disappointed.

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