AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Beggars of Life
Director: William A. Wellman (Dir)
Release Date:   22 Sep 1928
Duration (in mins):   80
Duration (in feet):   7,560
Duration (in reels):   9
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Cast:   Wallace Beery (Oklahoma Red)  
    Louise Brooks (The Girl [Nancy])  
    Richard Arlen (The Boy [Jim])  
    Robert Perry (The Arkansaw Snake)  
    Roscoe Karns (Lame Hoppy)  
    Edgar Washington (Black Mose)  
    H. A. Morgan (Skinny)  
    Andy Clark (Skelly)  
    Mike Donlin (Bill)  
    Johnnie Morris (Rubin)  
    George Kotsonaros (Baldy)  
    Jacques Chapin (Ukie)  
    Robert Brower (Blind Sims)  
    Frank Brownlee (Farmer)  

Summary: Nancy lives in mortal fear of her foster father and, when he attacks her, she kills him in a moment of panic. The murder is discovered by Jim, a young hobo, who helps her to escape. Nancy dresses in men's rough clothes, and she and Jim hop a freight; thrown off by the brakeman, they take refuge in a hobo camp, the leadership of which is bitterly contested between Arkansas Snake and Oklahoma Red. The encampment is broken up by detectives, and Jim and Nancy take refuge with Mose and a seriously ill tramp in an abandoned shack. Red unexpectedly shows up with a stolen car and women's clothing for Nancy, helping her and Jim to escape in the car. The sick tramp dies, and Red, dressing him in Nancy's rough clothes, places his body in a lumber car which he sets aflame. The pursuing detective kills Red, and Jim and Nancy (who is declared to be officially dead by the police) hop a passenger train for Canada. 

Production Company: Paramount Famous Lasky Corp.  
Production Text: A William A. Wellman Production
B. P. Schulberg, Gen. Mgr, West Coast Productions
Distribution Company: Paramount Famous Lasky Corp.  
Director: William A. Wellman (Dir)
Producer: Adolph Zukor (Pres)
  Jesse L. Lasky (Pres)
  Benjamin Glazer (Supv)
Writer: Benjamin Glazer (Adpt)
  Jim Tully (Story)
  Julian Johnson (Titles)
Photography: Henry Gerrard (Photog)
Film Editor: Alyson Shaffer (Film ed)
Country: United States
Language: English

Source Text: Based on the novel Beggars of Life by Jim Tully (New York, 1924).
Authors: Jim Tully

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number Passed By NBR:
Paramount Famous Lasky Corp. 21/9/1928 dd/mm/yyyy LP25642 Yes

Physical Properties: Si with sd seq: Talking seq, mus score, and sd eff by Movietone
  b&w:

 
Genre: Drama
 
Subjects (Major): Detectives
  Disguise
  Foster parents
  Murder
  Railroads
  Tramps

Note: Benjamin Glazer's onscreen credit reads: "Adapted & Supervised by." A silent version of the film was also released, at a length of 7,504 feet. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Exhibitor's Herald-World and Moving Picture World   30 Oct 1928   p, 51.
Film Daily   30 Sep 1928   p. 8.
The Film Spectator   27 Oct 1938   pp. 6-7.
New York Times   24 Sep 1928   p. 25.
Variety   26 Sep 1928   p. 14.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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