Beggars of Life | Chicago Reader

Beggars of Life

A doctoral candidate in gender studies could have a field day with this 1928 silent drama, for which macho director "Wild Bill" Wellman (Wings, The Public Enemy, Beau Geste) dressed screen siren Louise Brooks in men's clothing and cast her into a hobo jungle. A tramp (Richard Arlen) shows up at a farmhouse to find the owner dead at the hands of his adoptive daughter (Brooks), who claims she was defending her honor; they hit the road together but get hassled by a gang of bindle stiffs whose leader (Wallace Beery) wants the striking young woman for his bitch. This was Brooks's last Hollywood role before German director G.W. Pabst unleashed her ravenous sexuality in Pandora's Box, a film as destined for renown as this one was for obscurity.

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