Behind the Make-Up

Behind the Make-Up (1930) is an American Pre-Code drama film starring Hal Skelly, William Powell, Kay Francis, and Fay Wray, and based on the short story "The Feeder" by Mildred Cram.

Behind the Make-Up
Film poster
Directed byRobert Milton
Produced byMonta Bell
Written byMildred Cram (story)
Howard Estabrook
George Manker Watters
StarringHal Skelly
William Powell
Fay Wray
Kay Francis
Release date
  • January 18, 1930 (1930-01-18)[1]
Running time
65-70 minutes
CountryUnited States

This was the first of seven in which Powell and Francis co-starred, the others being Street of Chance (1930), Paramount on Parade (1930), For the Defense (1930), Ladies' Man (1931), Jewel Robbery (1932), and One Way Passage (1932).

Plot summary

Gardoni, a down-on-his-luck vaudeville performer, is taken in by a fellow performer, a clown who has a bicycle riding act. Gardoni shows his appreciation by stealing the clown's act and his girlfriend, whom he marries.


Critical reception

Mordaunt Hall, film critic of The New York Times, praised the performances of Powell ("excellent"), Wray ("pleasing"), Skelly ("goes about his part with earnestness and intelligence"), and Francis ("does nicely"), but noted "the story is rather limp and disappointing."[1]


  1. Mordaunt Hall (January 18, 1930). "Behind the Makeup (1930)". The New York Times.

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