Poverty Row Films: False Faces (1932)


Nov 10, 2018 – 7:00 PM

5300 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038 Map

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Down and Dirty in Gower Gulch: Poverty Row Films Preserved by UCLA Film & Television Archive (October 27 - December 8) Hosted by Raleigh Studios in Hollywood False Faces (1932) The loathsome career of Henry Schireson, the self-styled “King of Quacks” famous for bobbing Fanny Brice's nose and infamous for a botched surgery that necessitated the amputation of a young woman’s legs, is celebrated in Lowell Sherman's False Faces, a delirious film à clef worthy to be spoken of in the same breath with the best of Warren William's pre-Code muckrakers like Bedside (1934), Skyscraper Souls (1932) and The Mouthpiece (1932). We first meet Schireson's screen counterpart, Dr. Silas Benton (portrayed by director Sherman as an affectless sociopath), extorting money from a poor immigrant family for deceitful medical guarantees. Dismissed from his post at a New York hospital, Benton relocates to Chicago and promotes himself to the idle rich and famous as the doyen of nip-and-tuck. Utterly indifferent to his trail of human wreckage, Benton dallies promiscuously with every woman in sight and gorges himself with riches gleaned from his outlaw surgeries. His ultimate comeuppance is designed to leave the picture audience agog and cheering. False Faces provides showcases for a host of eclectic actresses, including Lila Lee (mother of A Chorus Line playwright James Kirkwood Jr.) as the left-behind lover; the tragically alcoholic Clara Bow wannabe, Peggy Shannon, as Benton's Chicago squeeze; and Nance O'Neil, confidant and purported lover of axe murderess Lizzie Borden as the wretched Mrs. Finn. They all face stiff competition from that ultimate paragon of studio logos, the anonymous but delightful World Wide Pictures girl. DCP, b/w, 81 min. Director: Lowell Sherman. Production: K.B.S. Productions. Distribution: World Wide Pictures, Inc. Produced by: E.W. Hammons. Screenwriter: Kubec Glasmon, Llewellyn Hughes. Cinematography: R.O. Binger, Ted McCord. Art Director: Ralph DeLacy. Cast: Lowell Sherman, Peggy Shannon, Lila Lee, Berton Churchill, David Landau. Restored by UCLA Film & Television Archive with funding provided by The Packard Humanities Institute. Preceded by Hearst Metrotone News, Vol. 4, No. 226 (1932) Short newsreel. Snow-White (1933) Cab Calloway sings “St. James Infirmary.” Director: Dave Fleischer. Please note All Down and Dirty in Gower Gulch screenings will take place at Raleigh Studios, 5300 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA. Tickets are available online only. Please enter the lot on Van Ness Ave. and prepare to show an ID at the gate to access free parking. There will be an opening night fundraising gala on Saturday, October 27. Learn more

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