|KIKI (director: Clarence Brown; screenwriters: Hanns Kraly/from the play produced by David Belasco & based on the novel by Andre Picard; cinematographer: Oliver Marsh; editor: Hal C. Kern; cast: Gertrude Astor (Paulette Mascar), Norma Talmadge (Kiki), Ronald Colman (Victor Renal), William Orlamann (Brule), Marc McDermott (Baron Rapp), George K. Arthur (Adolphe), Erwin Connelly (Joly), Frankie Darro (Pierre), Mack Swain (Pastryman ); Runtime: 96; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Joseph M. Schenck; First National Pictures; 1926-silent)|
story and acting."
by Dennis Schwartz
story and acting, with the star of the romantic
comedy, Norma Talmadge, the wife of producer Joseph
M. Schenck, applying risible over-the-top
hysterical antics in her performance as a street savvy
waif trying to get into showbiz as a chorus gal and
when landing that job aiming higher as a star.
Clarence Brown ("Anna Karenina"/"National
Velvet"/"Intruder in the Dust") effortlessly directs
the first movie version of the hit Broadway play
produced by David Belasco that was based on
the 1920 novel by Andre Picard, while Hal
C. Kern has a go at the screenplay. Kiki was
remade unsuccessfully in 1931 as a musical, with
Mary Pickford cast in the titular role.
impoverished Parisian dancer, Kiki (Norma
Talmadge), is a gamine living by her wits and
selling newspapers on the street. Kiki lands a
chorine gig for the suave theater manager Victor
Renal (Ronald Colman) and becomes smitten with him,
but gets fired after ruining the show on opening
night. This leads to a spat with Renal's Ice Queen
squeeze, the revue's star, Paulette (Gertrude
Astor). But Renal goes soft-eyes for Kiki and
shows her sympathy. The girls are soon competing for
Renal and the lead part in the play, as Paulette
conspires with the play's backer, Baron Rapp (Marc
MacDermott), to keep Kiki away from Renal.
After a hair-pulling cat fight between Paulette and
Kiki, the aspiring actress feigns
catalepsy. When Kiki awakens, the smitten Renal kisses
her and makes a marriage proposal.
George K. Arthur has a juicy bit part playing Adolphe, Renal's moody valet.
REVIEWED ON 7/17/2014 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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