On Trial (1928 film)

On Trial is a 1928 American talking drama film produced and distributed by Warner Bros., and directed by Archie Mayo. The film starred Pauline Frederick, Lois Wilson, Bert Lytell, Holmes Herbert, and Jason Robards. The film is based on the 1914 Broadway play of the same name by Elmer Rice. A silent version of the film was also released on December 29, 1928.[2]

On Trial
Lobby card.
Directed byArchie Mayo
Written byMax Pollock
Screenplay byRobert Lord (& titles)
Max Pollack
Based onOn Trial (1914 play)
by Elmer Rice
StarringPauline Frederick
Bert Lytell
Lois Wilson
CinematographyByron Haskin
Edited byTommy Pratt
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • November 14, 1928 (1928-11-14) (sound)
  • December 29, 1928 (1928-12-29) (silent)
Running time
91 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$1,454,000[1]

The story was first filmed in 1917, starring Barbara Castleton, Sidney Ainsworth, and Mary McAllister. It was remade again in 1939 with John Litel, Margaret Lindsay, and Edward Norris.

Plot summary

A man is put on trial for the murder on his best friend. A young attorney wants to become successful and decides to defend him. However, he is very inexperienced.



According to Warner Bros records the film earned $1,089,000 domestically and $365,000 domestically.[1]

Preservation status

The 1928 film version of On Trial is now considered lost. However, Vitaphone soundtrack discs for the film survive and are housed at the UCLA Film and Television Archive and British Film Institute. The film's trailer also survives.[3]

See also


  1. Warner Bros financial information in The William Shaefer Ledger. See Appendix 1, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, (1995) 15:sup1, 1-31 p 7 DOI: 10.1080/01439689508604551
  2. "Progressive Silent Film List: On Trial". silentera.com. Retrieved May 9, 2013.
  3. "On Trial (1928)". stanford.edu. Retrieved May 9, 2013.

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