Hey, I have this one and several more Wlliam Haines Silent's! I say, You and I have really got to communicate better. How come you won't ever talk to me??? Leave me a message please!
Anyway, Here is my review of this picture from my good friend Derek's goldenageofhollywood forum, posted last month.
A TCM, and World Television Premier last weekend, this virtually unknown Silent feature is typical William Haines fair. Yet another insufferable "Smarty Pants" who eventually recognizes what an immature Wise-guy that He has been, and makes amends!
It's the same in virtually every film. BROWN OF HARVARD, TELL IT TO THE MARINES, WEST POINT, SPEEDWAY, WAY OUT WEST, even LITTLE ANNIE ROONEY. Haines is a habitual practical joker who doesn't take anything seriously until misfortune finely starts to befall him or those people around him that He cares the most about. In this case, A Horse! In every picture, before long He matures, and literally transforms into a different person!
The leading lady be it winsome Mary Brian, perky Eleanor Boardman, indifferent Joan Crawford, or exuberant Anita Page, is generally annoyed by Haines brash often abrasive personality, and off the wall shenanigans in the beginning, but eventually falls hook, line and sinker for the guy!
A rare exception is Marion Davies in King Vidor's SHOW PEOPLE. In this movie She is at first caught off guard by this flamboyant Billy Boone character, but by the time that their initial meeting is over she is already in love with the Fella! It doesn't take half the picture before Haines start's taking her breath away, as it generally does in Haines films. He wins over Peggy Pepper very swiftly.
Certainly Tommy Van Buren in THE SMART SET could have used a good stiff kick in the Keister! Born into a family that treats the game of Polo like a religion, Tommy is good at the game, and He knows it! He flaunts his skills, and takes every opportunity to remind people of them, every chance that He gets. Arrogant, and self absorbed to fault, it is hard to find many redeeming qualities to this prankster, unless you delve beneath the surface? They are there someplace, trust me. Turns out He has a fierce loyalty to his prize Palomino, and a young Stable-Boy, who apparently idolizes him?
Fed up with his Son's drinking and other escapades, after his walking off the team, just to make a point convinced of his indispensability, Tommy's Father threatens to disown him! He won't do that, but He does decide to put all of his Boy's prize Polo Horse's up for auction!
Yipes! A better title might have been "Please Daddy, Don't Sell My Pony"! Tommy is lost without "Pronto: to ride in the matches, and isn't the same player anymore! After losing his thoroughbred Tommy realizes that He had better start to grow up and fast!
Alice Day a former Mack Sennett "Bathing Beauty", and frequent co-star in Harry Langdon, and Billy Beven's Two-reel comedies is the lady who finally brings "Mr. Devil May Care" to his well hidden senses! I thought she was wonderful as Polly daughter of a aging Polo Star in this picture, and it may be the first time I have ever seen her in a feature film? While not the stunning beauty that Her Sister Marceline was, Day was none the less a gifted comic actress, and was a very well known on-screen performer at the time.
Jack Holt is the strait-laced rival suitor, and He probably deserves to wind up with the Spirited Polly more than Tommy does. Haines is one of the great forgotten comic actors. A seemingly endless supply of kinetic energy and innovation on screen. Yet, at the same time He could shift bases to the dramatic at the tip of a hat.
Though largely forgotten today, at the time this film was made Haines was pretty close to the biggest Male Star in Hollywood. Certainly in the top 5. The majority of his surviving work seems to survive in excellent condition. Haines is certainly ripe for rediscovery. TCM seems to have enough titles now restored with scores to make for a very nice Box set collection in the near future.
For the most part I enjoyed the new scoring by former TCM Young Film Composers competition Winner Marcus Sjowall. Although some of it was a might to modern sounding. The Jazz during the party was good, and sounded authentic enough. I honestly didn't realize that Polo was ever such a big deal in the U. S. A.? I guess it must have been fairly popular during the 1920's?