Just as I wrap up some work on “Photobooths in Cinema” for the upcoming show in Lausanne next month, I heard today from a friend about yet another 1928/1929 silent/sound film that seems to feature a photobooth.
As you may remember, the two earliest films we’ve yet found that feature a photobooth are Pal Fejos’ Lonesome (opened in New York September 30, 1928 and released January 20, 1929), a silent released with added talking sequences shortly after its original release, and Welcome, Danger (released October 12, 1929), originally made as a silent film and then re-edited with added footage as Harold Lloyd’s first talking picture.
Today, we learned of a third film, The Shopworn Angel, which opened in New York after Lonesome, on December 29, 1928, but was released in theaters a week before Lonesome, on January 12, 1929. The film is mostly silent but was released with two talking sequences, and stars Gary Cooper and Nancy Carroll. It’s also not to be confused with the 1938 remake of the same name, starring Jimmy Stewart.
So far, the only evidence of the photobooth is this lovely photograph, a cropped version of a photo found on the What About Bobbed? Tumblr (where we were directed by our helpful tipster) as well as the Gary Cooper Scrapbook. In the still, we see the booth, complete with not-quite-full front wall, adjustable stool, and flash bulb visible, as Gary Cooper and Nancy Carroll look admiringly at a photograph taken in the machine. I hope to see the film at some point, and see if this scene shows up, to add more to the story of the photobooth in its early days. Thanks to Nancy for the tip!