Wallace Reid double feature: "The Roaring Road" (1919) and "Excuse My Dust!" (1920)

Adored during his meteoric tenure as Tinseltown’s most wholesome heartthrob, Wallace Reid starred in over 200 films — before falling victim to a scandalous demise at the hands of his own morphine addiction at age 32, which helped to solidify the Gothic reputation of 1920s Hollywood. Tonight’s double feature presents two of Reid’s most fun and suspenseful vehicle vehicles (he appeared in a slew of racing pictures, at the height of their popularity), and a dashing dose of his athletic acting style. The Roaring Road is a snappy, fast-paced comic gem that pits speed-crazy racecar driver Reid against his hot-tempered boss, whose comely daughter Reid sets his heart on wooing. The film was a knockout hit, and was quickly followed by the equally thrilling sequel Excuse My Dust!, which picks up exactly where The Roaring Road sped off. Reid’s legacy dimmed in direct proportion to the number of his films destroyed or lost after the Silent Era — and tonight’s show is an incredibly rare chance to peer into the same portal that dazzled ‘20s audiences, and set Jazz Age hearts aflutter with so much breezy charm.
The Roaring Road Dir. James Cruze, 1919, 35mm, 58 min. (35mm preservation by the UCLA Film & Television Archive)
Excuse My Dust! Dir. Sam Wood, 1920, 35mm, approx. 50 min. (35mm preservation by the Library of Congress)