The Show

USA | 1927 | 76 min | Passed


Performers in a Budapest sideshow encounter love, greed, and murder.


Come see “Arachnida the Human Spider,” one of the most horrific sights you’ll ever lay eyes on—and if she’s not enough, there’s “Zela the Half Lady,” or the beautiful “Neptuna the Mermaid Queen,” as well as a killer iguana! Before Tod Browning produced his definitive cult classic Freaks (1932), he directed The Show (1927)—a rarely screened macabre masterpiece replete with outlandish terrors and vampish seductresses. Released the same year as Browning’s iconic horror films The Unknown (which opened this season of Silent Revue) and London After Midnight (one of the most sought-after of lost films), The Show caps off the master director’s trifecta of grotesque, terrifying silent-era spine-tinglers.

Based on Charles Tenney Jackson’s 1910 novel The Day of Souls, The Show features John Gilbert as Cock Robin, a sideshow barker and salty lothario living in Budapest and looking to cash in on the women he abuses. Performing with his ex-lover (Renée Adorée) in a sultry Salome and Herod act, Robin risks life and limb at the hands of a jealous medicine show entrepreneur known as “The Greek” (Lionel Barrymore). Managing the carnival act’s brood of tempestuous female performers—including a human spider played by the ethereal and witchy Edna Tichenor (“Luna the Bat Girl” from London After Midnight)—is only half of Robin’s problem as he attempts to bamboozle a rich heiress and avoid the murderous intentions of “The Greek” and his henchman “The Ferret.” A polished and stylish potboiler from the prestigious MGM, The Show is a rollercoaster of wonders and horrors!


Director: Tod Browning
Cast: John Gilbert, Renée Adorée, Lionel Barrymore


Silent Revue is curated by Alicia Fletcher

Live accompaniment by Marilyn Lerner

Sponsored by Hollywood Suite and Bill Mohan Real Estate


General Admission: $15
Bronze Members, Students & Seniors: $12
Silver Members: $11
Gold Members: FREE

Prices include taxes. Membership free event is not applicable.