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Among the residents of a theatrical boarding house is the last member of a once great acting family, down on his luck. When an offer to star in a London "Hamlet" comes, he takes lessons ... See full summary »


John Ford


Randall Faye (as Randall H. Faye), Wallace Smith (story "The Snake's Wife")
1 win. See more awards »


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Complete credited cast:
Nancy Nash ... Gertie Ryan
Earle Foxe ... Eric Brashingham
Grant Withers ... Juan Rodriguez - aka Jack La Velle
Lydia Yeamans Titus Lydia Yeamans Titus ... Miss Hattie Breckenbridge Peyton
Emile Chautard ... Campbell-Mandare
Raymond Hitchcock ... The Star Boarder
Ted McNamara Ted McNamara ... Callahan and Callahan
Sammy Cohen Sammy Cohen ... Callahan and Callahan
Jane Winton ... The Soubrette
Lillian Worth ... Sister Team
Judy King ... The Sister Team
Harry A. Bailey Harry A. Bailey ... Gus Hoffman (as Harry Bailey)
Francis Ford ... Juggler
Ely Reynolds Ely Reynolds ... Deerfoot


Among the residents of a theatrical boarding house is the last member of a once great acting family, down on his luck. When an offer to star in a London "Hamlet" comes, he takes lessons from a faded former star, and goes on to huge success as he forgets his old friends. Written by WesternOne

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A romance of the Roaring River of Life called Broadway. (Print Ad- The Daily Star, ((Queens, NY)) 31 March 1927)


Comedy | Drama







Release Date:

30 January 1927 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Public Idol See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Fox Film Corporation See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Previously thought lost, the film was found in 2010 stored in a New Zealand film archive. According to a June 7, 2010, article in the "Los Angeles Times", this film--unlike several others found in the same cache--was considered so valuable that its restoration was carried out in New Zealand before it had several copies shipped to the US. The restoration was funded by 20th Century-Fox, whose predecessor, Fox Films, originally produced the picture. See more »

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User Reviews

Few signs of future genius....
20 November 2013 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

"Upstream" is an early film in the directorial career of the great John Ford. However, I saw no hints of greatness in this one and felt the story was rather unremarkable.

The film begins in a boarding house for would-be actors. Most of them barely got by and success seemed to elude most of the residents. In this atmosphere, a young actor named Brashington (subtle name, huh?) falls for the assistant to a knife-thrower. However, their romance is interrupted when Brashington is discovered and he's soon the toast of the London stage. It's obvious this guy's success has gone to his head and he envisions himself to be the next John Barrymore (that's why he kept emphasizing his profile--much like Barrymore used to do). In the process, he forgets about the girl and his friends. Time passes and he returns for a visit--and arrives on the day the girl is marrying the knife-thrower! What's next? See this film.

Earle Foxe played Brashington and you can only assume that the director encouraged him to really ham it up and play the role with absolutely no subtlety whatsoever. As a result, he comes off as more a caricature than a real person and the film is therefore very, very weak. Additionally, the story is amazingly simple--too simple--to be taken very seriously. Not a bad film but certainly not a very good one either. It's hard to imagine Ford made this--especially because around the same time, he's made a few decent films (such as "3 Bad Men") and would make one of the truly great silent films only a year later ("Four Sons").

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