Rent Free (1922)

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Silent matinee idol Wallace Reid played a speed demon in quite a few popular light comedies for Paramount. Here he takes a break from the fast cars, and frankly, this mediocre picture suffers for it. In spite of the protests of his father (Henry Barrows), Buell Arnister, Jr. (Reid) pursues a career as an artist. Unfortunately he's not too successful and his landlady tosses him out of his studio, forcing him to camp on the roof. Over on the next building are a couple of other roof dwellers -- Barbara Teller (Lila Lee) and her friend, Justine Tate (Gertrude Short). Arnister finds a plush, unoccupied home and decides to squat there. He invites the girls to share it with him, completely unaware that it belonged to Barbara's late father -- after he died, his second wife (Claire McDowell) threw her out of the house. Eventually the woman returns, having remarried and become the Countess de Mourney. Arnister, however, has found a note in a dressing gown which leads to a will giving Barbara her father's fortune. The Countess and her husband (Clarence Geldart) are now the homeless ones, and Arnister winds up with Barbara.

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artist, poverty