Gloria Swanson in "Stage Struck" (1925)

Silent-era Gloria Swanson shone in every role she played, but in particular the sweet romantic comedy Stage Struck showcased the megawatt personality and impeccable comic timing she managed to manifest with her tiny frame. Swanson mesmerizes as an adorable waitress named Mouse, in love with a goofy fry cook. The gifts that made Gloria a silent siren are front-and-center in this frothy, snappy confection; the huge, expressive features, feisty-ingenue delivery, and knack for physical comedy that unmistakably informed Lucille Ball all elevate Stage Struck above similar silent Cinderalla stories. Lavish fashion-heavy set-pieces, titles that are hilarious beyond their era (“You look about as funny as murder!”), and gorgeous cinematography compliment truly unusual details: is Mouse carrying on an entire conversation with her stuffed animal? Does the film culminate in a genuinely insane, cartoonish boxing match between Swanson and an Amazonian female body-builder? This is a warm, bouncy romp of a film with which our live piano accompanist — and everyone in the audience — will have tremendous fun. Restored 35mm print!
Dir. Allan Dwan, 1925, 35mm, 71 min. (Restored 35mm print courtesy of the George Eastman House)