Riley the Cop. 1928. USA. Directed by John Ford. With J. Farrell MacDonald, Nancy Drexel. Silent, with piano accompaniment. 67 min.
Hollywood’s go-to Irishman for 40 years and 297 films, J. Farrell MacDonald was granted a rare leading performance by his frequent director John Ford in this tiny but totally charming late silent comedy (presented here with its original Movietone music and effects track). Riley is a New York beat cop—not terribly hardworking and a little bit on-the-take—who is sent to Europe to track down a young man from his neighborhood accused of embezzlement. Riley quickly finds his man in Munich but is reluctant to leave the beer gardens (and a certain beer garden waitress, played by Louise Fazenda) behind. 35mm print restored by The Museum of Modern Art with the support of The Film Foundation