The Barker

It’s hard to imagine that the majority of films from the silent era, despite their level of cinematic innovation and critical acclaim, could all but vanish from our narrowing narrative of film history. The Barker is the exemplar of lost classics — originally a hit play on Broadway, and adapted for the screen in 1928 with a stellar cast including the likes of burgeoning stars such as Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Betty Compson (who received an Academy Award nomination for her performance). Such was the film’s success that it merited two further high-profile remakes in 1933 and 1944, plus a syndicated Lux Radio Theater adaptation. And somehow, a film that managed to remain in the public consciousness for nearly two decades has disappeared. The Cinefamily and The Silent Treatment are proud to launch this picture back into the limelight with a spectacular 35mm print so crisp that it’ll leave the images lingering in your mind long after the curtains close. The film has a hopeful take on the troubles of modernization, when the greatest carnival barker in the world turns his back on the antiquated biz, only to rediscover his passion through the exploits of his city-bound son. Come participate in the resurrection of this fantastic film, and let your mind reel at the thought that something this good could go missing for so long! The evening’s feature is also one of the first films to utilize the “Vitaphone” process, so get ready to also experience a restored version of its original music/effects/minimal dialogue track!
Dir. George Fitzmaurice, 1928, 35mm, 80 min. (Archival 35mm print courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive)