Gaunt, aristocratic-looking character-actor H.B. Warner was slightly miscast as author Frank Hamilton Spearman's popular railroad detective Whispering Smith. The detective had earlier been played by J.P. McGowan in a 1916 serial version starring McGowan's wife Helen Holmes which was itself remade in 1927 starring Wallace MacDonald. A George O'Brien "B"-western variation came in 1935 and the durable detective was portrayed by Alan Ladd in 1948. (A cheap 1952 version set in, of all places, London, and a 1960s television series are not even worth mentioning.) In 1926, however, the property was in the hands of Cecil B. DeMille's company, PDC, who not only cast the less-than-heroic-looking Warner, but teamed him with the extremely modern Lilyan Tashman, a clotheshorse more at home in the boudoir than in a rough-and-tumble action melodrama.
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