Synopsis by Paul Brenner
After the disastrous failure of Queen Kelly, the great silent film director Eric Von Stroheim began to parcel himself out as an actor-for-hire, his directing career in tatters. His first post-Queen Kelly acting job was in this early sound film curio, with Von Stroheim playing The Great Gabbo, a ventriloquist who is gradually going insane, transferring his subliminal urges to his dummy, Otto. Gabbo's lovely assistant Mary (Betty Compson) is in love with him, but Gabbo's reciprocal love for Mary is transformed by Otto into heaps of hateful verbal abuse -- so much so that Mary leaves the act, walking out on Gabbo. Without Mary, Gabbo becomes completely unhinged, eking out retribution upon Otto. The Great Gabbo, made at the height of the early talkie musical revue boom, contains a series of inexplicable and incongruous musical production numbers, clumsily grafted onto this Lon Chaney-esque tale of psychological horror.
behind-the-scenes, craziness, dance [art], dummy, identity, love, role-switching, songwriter, ventriloquist