“The Great Gabbo” is a pre-Code musical drama film directed by James Cruze and released in 1929. The movie tells the story of Gabbo, a talented ventriloquist who is obsessed with his dummy, Otto.
As Gabbo’s fame and fortune grow, his mental state begins to deteriorate, and he becomes increasingly abusive towards his colleagues and loved ones. His relationship with Mary, his assistant and love interest, becomes strained as Gabbo’s behavior becomes more erratic and unpredictable.
Despite his talent, Gabbo’s ego and insecurities ultimately lead to his downfall, as he alienates everyone around him and loses his grip on reality. The movie features several musical performances, including a memorable rendition of “I’m Laughing” by the ventriloquist and his dummy.
“The Great Gabbo” is a haunting and atmospheric film that explores themes of obsession, delusion, and the destructive power of fame. It is a rare example of a pre-Code film that deals with mature and controversial themes, and it remains a cult classic among fans of early Hollywood cinema.
James Cruze, Erich von Stroheim
Ben Hecht, Hugh Herbert
Erich von Stroheim, Donald Douglas, Betty Compson