An egomaniacal film star develops a relationship with a young dancer against the backdrop of Hollywood’s silent era. Outside a movie premiere, enthusiastic fan Peppy Miller literally bumps into the swashbuckling hero of the silent film, George Valentin. The star reacts graciously and Peppy plants a kiss on his cheek as they are surrounded by photographers. The headlines demand: “Who’s That Girl?” and Peppy is inspired to audition for a dancing bit-part at the studio. However as Peppy slowly rises through the industry, the introduction of talking-pictures turns Valentin’s world upside-down. It’s 1927. Arguably Hollywood’s most admired movie screen idol, George Valentin, is enjoying the success of his latest picture, The Russian Affair. He enjoys his work and the adulation he receives by being a movie star, as witnessed by how he hogs the spotlight during The Russian Affair’s post-premiere bows. Peppy Miller is an aspiring young actress, who literally and figuratively runs into Valentin at the premiere, which ends up being the launching pad to her Hollywood acting career. The advent of talking pictures brings a reversal to their fortunes as Kinograph, the movie studio where Valentin is under contract, is looking for fresh faces such as Peppy Miller to star in their talking pictures, while Valentin resists the entire notion of talking pictures. Peppy, who appreciates everything that Valentin did for her career, tries to help him as much as she can, but Valentin may have to decide on his own where and if he fits into the Hollywood machine, one where he doesn’t think people want to hear him speak. In 1927, in Hollywood, the star George Valentin is the pride and joy of the president of the Kinograph Studios Al Zimmer and worshiped by a legion of fans. Among them is Peppy Miller, who stumbles into George Valentin after the premiere of a silent film. Peppy kisses George and the photographers take pictures of them. The next morning, the headlines read “Who is that girl?” and Peppy is selected in a dancing audition to be an extra in a film. Over the next few years, Peppy climbs positions in the Kinograph Studios until the advent of talking pictures. Proud George Valentin does not believe in the ‘talkies’, breaks off with the studio and decides to produce and direct a silent film. The film is a complete failure and with the Great Depression, George Valentin falls and is bankrupt. Meanwhile Peppy Miller rises as new star of Kinograph Studios. But she never forgets her idol George Valentin. It’s the end of the 1920 and matinée idol George Valentin is the star of Kinograph motion pictures. He’s a good man, even helping out a young dancer, Peppy Miller, get her first break. Times are changing however and studio head Al Zimmer sees talking pictures as the future of the industry but George thinks that’s ridiculous. As Kinograph goes in a new direction, George decides that he’s going to produce and direct a great – but silent – film, Tears of Joy. When the film does little business at the box office, George is destitute. Peppy Miller meanwhile has a hit movie, Beauty Spot and learning of George’s situation, decides to help him out. In the 1920s, actor George Valentin is a bona fide matinee idol with many adoring fans. While working on his latest film, George finds himself falling in love with an ingenue named Peppy Miller and, what’s more, it seems Peppy feels the same way. But George is reluctant to cheat on his wife with the beautiful young actress. The growing popularity of sound in movies further separates the potential lovers, as George’s career begins to fade while Peppy’s star rises.