- The Great Gabbo
"The Great Gabbo" (1929) is an early musical drama. As originally released, it featured sequences in
Multicolor; current prints are only in black and white. The film starred Erich von Stroheimand Betty Compsonand was directed by James Cruze, based on a story ("The Rival Dummy") by Ben Hecht. The movie follows a ventriloquist (Stroheim, the title character) who, as he spirals down into madness, increasingly uses his dummy as his only means of self-expression--an artist driven insane by his work. The stark drama is oddly juxtaposed with the somewhat overblown and gauche musical sequences, especially "The Web of Love" and the now-lost number "The Ga Ga Bird."
The film's basic plot and themes would later be resurrected many times, in "
Dead of Night" (1945), an episode of the popular television series "The Twilight Zone" (" The Dummy," Season 3, Episode 33) and the 1978 Anthony Hopkins film "Magic". An episode of " The Simpsons", " Krusty Gets Kancelled," also featured a ventriloquist's dummy by the name of Gabbo. The Batmanvillain Ventriloquist (and his dummy Scarface) are arguably based on the Great Gabbo as well, also depicting the madness that comes from one person living two personas.
*imdb title|id=0019946|title=The Great Gabbo
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