Why Be Good?

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Why Be Good?
Why be good 2.jpg
Ad for the film
Directed by William A. Seiter
Produced by John McCormick
Written by Paul Perez
Screenplay by Carey Wilson
Story by Carey Wilson
Starring Colleen Moore
Cinematography Sidney Hickox
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Release date
  • February 28, 1929 (1929-02-28)
Running time
84 minutes
Country United States
Language Silent
English intertitles

Why Be Good? is a 1929 American silent comedy film from First National Pictures starring Colleen Moore and featuring Neil Hamilton. The film has no audible dialogue, but it is accompanied by a Vitaphone soundtrack with music, sound effects, and some synchronized singing.[1]


Peabody Jr. (Neil Hamilton) and his friends prepare to frolic into the night before he must begin work the following day at his father's department store. Before departing, Peabody Sr. (Edward Martindale) lectures his son about the women of the day and that all the cuties at the store are off limits.

In the meantime, Pert Kelly (Colleen Moore), after winning a dance contest is being wooed by gentlemen of questionable character. All parties end up having a wild time at "The Boiler" where Pert catches the eye of Peabody Jr. who gives her a ride home and schedules a date for the following night. Pert is tardy to work as she was up until 3 and must report to the personnel office where she is surprised to find Peabody Jr. working. Peabody Sr. is there, figures out what's going on, and terminates Pert's employment.

Peabody Jr. must wait several hours past the scheduled date before he can talk to Pert and explain he did not do the firing. They schedule another date. Lavish gifts arrive for Pert to wear to the next date. She gets lectured by Pa Kelly (John St. Polis) about the lack of virtues of the "modern" man. Similarly Peabody Jr. is again lectured about the "modern" woman by Peabody Sr.

On the next date, Peabody Jr. has devised a test of Pert's virtue. When he tries to push her past her personal limits, she protests, in the process passing his test with ease. They are married that night, and they arrive back home to prove her virtue to Peabody Sr. who now cannot refute it.


Preservation status[edit]

Why Be Good?[2] had been considered a lost film for many decades, with only the film's Vitaphone soundtrack still in existence. In the late 1990s, a 35mm print of the film was discovered to survive in an Italian archive.[1] Restoration work of the film started in 2012 and was completed in 2014, funded by Warner Bros. and The Vitaphone Project.

The U.S. premiere of the restoration was hosted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art's Bing Theater on September 6, 2014.[3] This same restoration was released on DVD-R by the Warner Archive Collection on October 28, 2014[4] and subsequently screened at New York's Film Forum on November 9, 2014, as well as being shown on Turner Classic Movies.



  1. ^ a b Why Be Good? at silentera.com
  2. ^ "Media History Digital Library : Free Texts : Download & Streaming : Internet Archive". archive.org. 
  3. ^ ""Why Be Good?" Celebrates The Jazz Age". LADailyMirror.com. Retrieved 2014-12-07. 
  4. ^ "Why Be Good?". Shop.WarnerArchive.com. Retrieved 2014-12-07. 


External links[edit]