The Valiant (1929)


After killing an unknown man for an unknown reason, a mysterious drifter turns himself to the law, under a false name intending to protect his own family’s honor. But when the news of his conviction breaks, the drifter’s sister and mother seeks the possibility that the man is her long lost brother.

Director: William K. Howard.
Stars: Paul Muni, Johnny Mack Brown, Marguerite Churchill, Don Terry, DeWitt Jennings, Henry Kolker, Edith Yorke, Richard Carlyle, Henry Kolker.

1930 Academy Awards – Nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Paul Muni).
1930 Academy Awards – Nominated for an Oscar for Best Writing, Achievement (Tom Barry).


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  1. November 1, 2018

    Thanks Jon for a chance to see this, Paul Muni’s first film work. It is a bit dated and plays like the original play it cames from. Stilted, thick florin dialogue, stiff performance & an utterly predictable narrative. But all that is beside the point: given some of the toughest dialogue to make work, Muni’s stagecraft & instincts are incredibly sharp. Hs any other early talking actor ever been more expressive with his eyes even as his face is a mask behind which his character must hide? Has any actor ever been so still when listening to others. The film is an average melodrama until the second half when Muni gets to dominate the scenes. You understand perfectly what is happening & what is going to happen, yet when that moment comes, you catch yourself holding your breathe bc you are moved by the actor’s depth of performance. Muni shifts from stotic bravery to abject fear with a casting of the sight line of his eyes. Even old & vintage, a memorable debut for one of America’s best actors.

  2. Allan
    January 23, 2019

    I agree with nearly everything you say about Paul Muni . However can I suggest another actor who had the ability to act “with his eyes even as his face is a mask.” That actor is Konrad Veit in Leni’s The Man who laughs(1928). Acting behind a a fixed rictus smile Veit’s eyes conveyed a world of meaning and remains one of the greatest performances of the Silent Era -or in fact any era.

  3. Ali
    February 8, 2019

    Like the other poster, I greatly admire Paul Muni, and his sensitive, haunting performance in his first film, was so great to see. Thanks for this rare opportunity to see this legendary actor’s first film; “The Valiant” is so primitive and obscure, that I’m surprised that it wasn’t lost through the years, like his other film “Seven Faces.” I really liked this film. Thanks for sharing it.

  4. July 15, 2019

    I need to know why he killed that man lol!!!…enjoyed this movie…..Muni is great in Scarface.

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