BEGGARS OF LIFE Starring Louise Brooks - Anything But Silent Live theatre organ accompaniment by BEN MODEL
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Anything But Silent Live theatre organ accompaniment by BEN MODEL

BEGGARS OF LIFE Starring Louise Brooks
Wednesday, January 24 at 7:30 pm
Members $11 | Public $16

After killing her treacherous step-father, a girl tries to escape the country with a young vagabond. Based on the memoir of real-life hobo Jim Tully, and directed with adventuresome verve by William Wellman, Beggars of Life is an essential American original.

Louise Brooks’ best American film was made shortly before she left for Germany and found everlasting fame in Pandora’s Box. Brooks plays a young woman who flees her cruel stepfather and, dressed in boy’s clothing, rides the rails with hobos. Based on the memoirs of rough-and-tumble writer Jim Tully, which describes his hardscrabble existence on the rails during the recession years of the 1890s and 1900s, this long-thought-lost silent classic features an unforgettable turn by Wallace Beery as the hobo Oklahoma Red and dazzling location photography set aboard speeding trains. Director William Wellman was in top form for the movie, basking in praise for his work on the Oscar-winning Wings (1927), although Louise Brooks felt he pushed her to take unnecessary risks–especially during a stunt in which she was nearly sucked under a train’s wheels. Nonetheless, Brooks lauded the director for “how hard he studied his script and prepared for his day’s work, how he always did his best, [and] how sure and fast he worked.” The new restoration of Beggars of Life is a triumphant resurrection for a classic of the silent era. (USA, 1928, 100 min., NR, English| Dir. William A. Wellman)

Ben Model is one of America’s leading silent film accompanists, and has been playing piano and organ for silent films at the New York MoMA since 1984, and the CAC since 2006.

Ben Model LoC organ