The scenario for Beggars of Life is based on the 1924 autobiographical novel by Jim Tully, a writer called "the missing link between Jack London and Jack Kerouac" by one of his biographers. Tully spent several years of his childhood in an orphanage and, when he was twelve, worked for a farmer who abused him, perhaps planting the seeds for this story of escape and survival riding the rails. Dubbed the "Hobo Writer" because of his knockabout past, Tully held a wide variety of jobs, including as a publicist for Charlie Chaplin, before becoming an acclaimed writer for Vanity Fair and H.L. Mencken's American Mercury.
Louise Brooks, in her best American film, is luminous as a freight-train hopping runaway who dresses in a flat cap and trousers to escape capture by the police. She joins up with young vagabond Richard Arlen, and along the way they encounter a hobo encampment and its charismatic leader, played by Wallace Beery in a performance that Brooks later called "a little masterpiece." William A. Wellman, whose Wings (1927) had just won the first-ever Academy Award for Best Picture, directs with nuance and grace.
NEW 2K restoration from 35mm film elements preserved by the George Eastman Museum
Audio commentary by actor William Wellman, Jr.
Audio commentary by Thomas Gladysz, founding director of the Louise Brooks Society
Booklet essay by film critic Nick Pinkerton
Musical score compiled and performed by The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra, employing selections from the original 1928 Paramount cue-sheet
Reversible DVD and Blu-ray artwork
STREET DATE: AUGUST 22.
And don't forget, my new book, Beggars of Life: A Companion to the 1928 Film, has just been released. It features more than 50 images (many of them rare), some 15,000 words of text, and an introduction by William Wellman, Jr. The book is available on amazon.com and elsewhere. Autographed copies are available for $13.50. Please contact me through email (_silentfilmbuffATgmailDOTcom_) or Facebook to place an order.