The Barker

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The Barker
The Barker 1928 Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by George Fitzmaurice
Produced by Al Rockett
Richard A. Rowland
Written by Benjamin Glazer
Joseph Jackson
Herman J. Mankiewicz (Titles)
Based on The Barker 
by Kenyon Nicholson
Starring Milton Sills
Dorothy Mackaill
Betty Compson
Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.
Music by Louis Silvers
Cinematography Lee Garmes
Edited by Stuart Heisler
Distributed by First National Pictures
Release dates
December 9, 1928
Running time
80 minutes
Country United States
Language Silent film
English intertitles

The Barker is a 1928 part-talkie pre-code romantic drama film produced and released by First National Pictures, a subsidiary of Warner Brothers. (First National had been acquired by Warner Brothers in September 1928.) The film was directed by George Fitzmaurice and stars Milton Sills, Dorothy Mackaill, Betty Compson, and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr..

The film was adapted by Benjamin Glazer, Joseph Jackson and Herman J. Mankiewicz from the play by Kenyon Nicholson. The Barker is a part-talkie with talking sequences and sequences with synchronized musical scoring and sound effects.[1][2]


The film tells the story of a woman (Dorothy Mackaill) who comes between a man (Milton Sills) and his estranged son (Douglas Fairbanks Jr.) Sills is a carnival barker who is in love with a dancing girl and is ambitious to have his son, Fairbanks, become a lawyer. Fairbanks has other ideas and during his vacation he hops a freight, joins the carnival, and weds a dancing girl (Mackaill). Eventually, Fairbanks fulfills the ambition his father had for him.



  • Bobby Dunn – Hamburger Concessionaire
  • Pat Harmon – Heckler
  • Bynunsky Hyman – Fire Eater
  • Gladden James – Member of Hawaiian Trio
  • Charles Sullivan – Man in audience
  • Pat West -Bartender

Award nominations[edit]

Year Award Result Category Recipient
1930 Academy Award Nominated Best Actress in a Leading Role Betty Compson


The film survives intact with its sound and has been preserved by UCLA.

Play origin[edit]

The film is based on the Broadway play of the same name which opened at the Biltmore Theatre January 18, 1927 and ran until July 1927 for 221 performances. In the play Walter Huston was 'Nifty' and a still relatively unknown Claudette Colbert was 'Lou', played in the film by Dorothy Mackaill.[3]


The Barker was remade as Hoop-La (1933) with Clara Bow and as Diamond Horseshoe (1945) with Betty Grable. Japanese director Yasujirō Ozu remade this film in A Story of Floating Weeds (1934) and again in Floating Weeds (1959).


  1. ^ The Barker at
  2. ^ The American Film Institute Catalog Feature Films: 1921-30 by The American Film Institute, c.1971
  3. ^ The Barker on Broadway at the Biltmore Hotel, Jan. 18 1927 to July 1927;

External links[edit]