Easy Pickings

Easy Pickings is a 1927 silent film mystery or 'old dark house' story directed by George Archainbaud and starring Anna Q. Nilsson and Kenneth Harlan. It is based on a play written by Paul A. Cruger and William A. Burton.[1] Zack Williams plays the stereotypical Negro servant who mugs his way through the film in an exaggeratedly nervous manner. Comedic actor Billy Bevan plays the detective in the film in a more-serious-than-usual manner, and later went on to appear in Dracula's Daughter (1936) and The Invisible Man Returns (1940).[2]

Easy Pickings
Directed byGeorge Archainbaud
Produced byFirst National Pictures
Frank Griffin
Written byLouis Stevens
Based onplay by Paul A. Cruger and William A. Burton
StarringAnna Q. Nilsson
Kenneth Harlan
CinematographyCharles Van Enger
Distributed byFirst National Pictures
Release date
February 20, 1927
Running time
6 reels

Lead actress Nilsson emigrated from Sweden to Hollywood to appear in a number of silent films, but her career could not survive the coming of sound films. Cameraman Van Enger had photographed the 1925 Lon Chaney classic The Phantom of the Opera, and years later would handle the camerawork on Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948). Director Archainbaud wound up directing TV shows in the 1950s such as The Gene Autry Show and Lassie.[2]


Mary Ryan and Peter Van Horne get stranded in a haunted house inhabited by some very odd characters. The house is supposed to be haunted by ghosts. A detective (Billy Bevan) shows up to investigate the strange goings-on.



  • A copy resides in Italy at Cineteca Nazionale, Rome.[3]

At one time the film was considered lost.[4]


  1. The AFI Catalog of Feature Films:Easy Pickings
  2. Workman, Christopher; Howarth, Troy (2016). Tome of Terror: Horror Films of the Silent Era. Midnight Marquee Press. p. 312. ISBN 978-1936168-68-2.
  3. The Library of Congress American Silent Feature Film Survival Catalog:Easy Pickings
  4. Easy Pickings at Arne Anderson's Lost Film Files:lost First National films - 1927 Archived March 3, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
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