Sog.: from the musical of the same name by William Anthony McGuire e Otto Harbach. Scen.: Tom Gibson. F.: Victor Milner. Mus.: Cheerful Willoughby. Int.: Eddie Cantor (Samuel ‘Kid’ Boots), Clara Bow (Clara McCoy), Billie Dove (Eleanore Belmore), Lawrence Gray (Tom Sterling), Natalie Kingston (Carmen Mendoza), Malcolm Waite (Big Boyle). DCP. D.: 62’. Bn.
At first glance, one might think a film adaptation of a Broadway musical in the silent era would be somewhat pointless, but Kid Boots proves otherwise. Its theatrical run was a rousing success – nearly five hundred performances between 1923-1925 with another thousand road performances after that – and catapulted Ziegfeld favorite Eddie Cantor to national stardom. Cantor played a wily golf caddy/bookie/bootlegger at a swank country club and sang most of the more than twenty-five songs in the show. In 1925, Paramount purchased the rights to Kid Boots for $75,000, and signed Cantor to reprise the title role for what would be his first motion picture. But rather than cast Cantor’s stage co-star Mary Eaton, the studio assigned Clara Bow, one of its ingénues who was just finishing the film that would make her a star, Mantrap. Kid Boots was extensively re-written and physical comedy added to account for the removal of all the songs; Cantor was now a tailor’s assistant who is eventually forced to hide out at a golf resort, all the while wooing swimming instructor Bow. From all accounts, Cantor and Bow got along splendidly – he helped hone her comic timing and she taught him how to act for the cameras – and their chemistry pops off the screen. By the time Kid Boots opened, Bow was a major star due to Mantrap, while her next film It would make her a sensation. Kid Boots also launched Cantor’s highly successful career as a movie and radio star; unlike Bow, greater fame awaited him in the talkies. This 2017 restoration by the Library of Congress combines a nitrate print in its Paramount Collection with a safety fine grain kindly provided by Paramount Pictures. Special thanks to David Stenn for his support.
Restored in 4K in 2021 by Paramount Pictures at Paramount Post Services, Deluxe Audio and ProTek laboratories, from a 35mm nitrate print and a 35mm 4th Generation Safety FG for inserts