Beggars of Life (Wellman, 1928)

This review contains spoilers.

Beggars of Life (William A. Wellman, 1928)

I’m kind of torn on what I think about my latest adventure with Wellman’s filmography. On the one hand, we’re treated to a beautiful blossoming romance/lovers on the run storyline. Wallace Beery, Louise Brooks, trains, and haystacks all make for a hopelessly romantic first half of the film. As the two protagonists lay under the hay talking about life, dreams, and contentedness, I wanted nothing more than to watch this forever.

But it wouldn’t last forever as shortly after, we are introduced to a group of hobos led by a drunkard with plans of rape and murder. However, despite spending one minute on the verge of committing two horrible acts, he experiences a strange and awkward change of heart and quickly becomes a mouthpiece for the two protagonists’ love for each other. And to make matters worse, he even dies helping them escape the police that are chasing them. I’m all about redemption stories, but this one feels rushed and forced. I really did like the film up to that point though. Why such a shift in focus, William?  8/10

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