Pre Code Hollywood Season: FD Cinematheque
Behind the Make Up (1930)
Director: Robert Milton, Dorothy Arzner, Henry Hathaway
Cast: Hal Skelly, William Powell, Fay Wray, Kay Francis, Paul Lukas, E H Calvert, Torben Meyer, Bob Perry, Walter Huston
This was the first of seven in which Powell and Francis co-starred, the others being Street of Chance (1930), Paramount on Parade (1930), For the Defense (1930), Ladies’ Man (1931), Jewel Robbery (1932), and One Way Passage (1932).
Gardoni, a down-on-his-luck vaudeville performer, is taken in by a fellow performer, a clown who has a bicycle riding act. Gardoni shows his appreciation by stealing the clown’s act and his girlfriend, whom he marries.
- Hal Skelly as Hap Brown
- William Powell as Gardoni
- Fay Wray as Marie Gardoni
- Kay Francis as Kitty Parker
- E. H. Calvert as Dawson
- Paul Lukas as Boris
- Jean De Briac as Sculptor
- Torben Meyer as Waiter
Mordaunt Hall, film critic of the New York Times, praised the performances of Powell (“excellent”), Wray (“pleasing”), Skelly (“goes about his part with earnestness and intelligence”), and Francis (“does nicely”), but noted “the story is rather limp and disappointing.”