Starring: Eleanor Boardman, Frank Mayo, Richard Dix
Director: Rupert Hughes
Plot: The story concerns a young woman named Remember Steddon (known as “Mem”) who runs away from an impulsive marriage, finds herself in the movie capital, and eventually becomes a film star almost by accident.
The film’s tone is melodramatic one moment and comic the next, yet somehow the shifts in mood feel natural and never jarring; author Hughes’ witty title cards help keep the transitions smooth. Viewers familiar with Colleen Moore’s 1926 comedy “Ella Cinders” may notice some similarities between the two films, each of which is a rags-to-riches tale with lots of backstage atmosphere and inside jokes, but this one distinguishes itself with an amazing parade of star cameos featuring some of the era’s top personalities. Charlie Chaplin, without his familiar make-up, can be briefly glimpsed staging a scene from “A Woman of Paris,” and Erich Von Stroheim (looking suitably grim) is shown on the set of the wedding feast from his epic “Greed.” The featured performers constitute a veritable Who’s Who of prominent screen personalities of the time, including Richard Dix, Mae Busch, Barbara La Marr, Snitz Edwards, and the very young William Haines, in an early role as an assistant director. Lew Cody is especially memorable as a sleazy con man who turns out to be even worse than he appears. Also noteworthy for historians are the satirical digs at the contemporary craze for ‘Sheik’ movies (poor Rudolph Valentino was much-parodied during his lifetime) and several oblique but unmistakable references to the sex scandals then rocking Hollywood. The story builds to an exciting finale on the set of a circus picture and ends the movie on a rousing note.