The Trouper (1922)

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Minor Universal star Gladys Walton plays an especially pitiful character in this subpar programmer. Mamie Judd (Walton) is a drudge for a theatrical troupe. She adores leading man Herman Jenks (Jack Perrin), who barely acknowledges her existence -- occasionally he will gift her with an autographed photo. When the troupe lands in a small town, Mamie overhears a plot between the manager and the star, Irene La Rue (Kathleen O'Connor) -- they are planning to swindle Neal Selden (Roscoe Karms), son of the town's banker (Tom D. Guise). La Rue works her feminine wiles on young Selden, but when he doesn't cough up any money, the star and manager rob the bank. Mamie keeps them from escaping and becomes a heroine. At last Jenks realizes he loves her and all is well. Stuck far back in the cast is a bit player named Mary Philbin -- a few months later the inexperienced actress would be promoted to stardom by director Erich Von Stroheim, who cast her as one of the leads in The Merry Go Round. She flourished under Stroheim's care, but on other films -- yes, even Phantom of the Opera -- her performances aren't nearly as strong.

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Keywords

actor, escape, robbery, seduction, son