Lost Film Files #17: The Amateur Gentleman (1926)

Status: Missing and presumed lost

This Richard Barthelmess vehicle was based on the 1913 novel of the same name by Jeffery Farnol. The novel told the tale of the son of a prizefighter who tries to break into English society in the Regency era. The silent era was not overly fond of Regency-era costume pictures (some were made but silents generally skewed Victorian and Elizabethan) so it would be fun to see how they handled this tale. Plus Richard Barthelmess is always a pleasure to watch.


The tale was filmed once before in 1920 and again in 1936 as a vehicle for Douglas Fairbanks Jr. The original novel is in the public domain and may be downloaded from archive.org.

Photoplay thought the story thin but praised Barthelmess:


It’s not Dick Barthelmess at his best— but who gives a hoot about story or anything else as long as we have Dick? Adapted from Jeffrey Farnol’s romance of England in 1817, the film tells the story of a prizefighter’s son who inherits a fortune and goes to London to become a gentleman. And he succeeds in becoming a sort of Beau Brummel (sic) and wins the love of a titled lady. You’ll have to go see it to find out the way he does it. And how! We are sure you’ll like it.


The New York Times echoed these sentiments:

Although this picture is not alive with suspense, it has its captivating moments, due to the frank and simple manner in which it has been produced and Richard Barthelmess’s sympathetic portrayal of Barnabas Barty, the handsome son of an ex-pugilist and innkeeper, who, on inheriting a huge fortune, aspires to be a gentleman. After a discussion with his robust father, he is quite content that the best he can expect is to be an amateur gentleman.

amateur-gentleman-richard-barthelmess3The contemporary reviews in general praised Barthelmess to the skies. That in itself is enough to make me want to see the film.