Beatrice Lillie, Jack Pickford, Doris Lloyd, Franklin Pangborn
The screen debut and only silent film of celebrated stage comedian Beatrice Lillie, Exit Smiling is a fantastic showcase for her incomparable comic skills.
She plays Violet, who works as a maid and wardrobe lady for a travelling theatre troupe, but harbours dreams of becoming an actress and winning the lead roles in their plays. With the arrival of Jimmy (played by Jack Pickford, Mary’s younger brother), she gets a chance to fulfil her dreams; but must also help him escape a false conviction…
Lillie’s brilliance is seen in her first-rate clowning; with one particular highlight an extended routine involving a string of pearls (a Lillie “standard” that she’d use time and again on stage). Directed by Harold Lloyd regular Sam Taylor (who later went on to work with Laurel and Hardy), this delightful silent romantic comedy is inestimably elevated by its star, who later went on to win a Tony Award for her revue in 1953.
Please note: this film will screen in the evening at BFI Southbank in a screening also open to the public, for which the ICO will have only a limited number of comps available.