Skip to Content



Partial inspiration for Sturges’ SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS (screening immediately after).
♪ Silent, with live piano accompaniment by Steve Sterner
Pre-recorded introduction by Leonard Maltin, with Bruce Goldstein

U.S., 1928
Directed by William Wellman
Starring Louise Brooks, Wallace Beery, Richard Arlen

Based on Outside Looking In, a stage play by Maxwell Anderson, adapted from Jim Tully’s 1924 autobiographical book, Beggars of Life
Approx. 81 min. DCP.

On the run after killing a molesting stepfather, dressed-as-a-boy Louise Brooks is befriended by Richard Arlen and falls in with Wallace Beery’s band of hoboes. Long-thought-lost silent classic, with Brooks’ best pre-German work (director G.W. Pabst was so impressed by her screen presence that he soon cast her in PANDORA'S BOX) and dazzling location work on speeding trains.  The set-up of a young woman impersonating a boy, traveling with hoboes on a box car, may have inspired Preston Sturges to re-create it — this time, with Veronica Lake dressed as a boy — in SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS. 


“A rowdy, violent, romantic adventure…The bladelike Brooks, domineering with a mere glance, looks right at home in a man’s suit… [Wellman] has an eye for the physical and moral degradation of the persecuted and despised.”
– Richard Brody, The New Yorker

Film Forum