In 1927, silent film star George Valentin is posing for pictures outside the premiere of his latest hit film when a young woman, Peppy Miller, accidentally bumps into him. Valentin reacts with humor to the accident and shows off with Peppy for the cameras. The next day, Peppy finds herself on the front page of ''Variety (magazine)'' with the headline "Who's That Girl?" Later, Peppy auditions as a dancer and is spotted by Valentin, who insists that she have a part in Kinograph Studios' next production, despite objections from the studio boss, Al Zimmer. While performing a scene in which they dance together, Valentin and Peppy show great chemistry, despite her being merely an extra. With a little guidance from Valentin (he draws a beauty spot on her, which will eventually be her trademark, after finding her in his dressing room), Peppy slowly rises through the industry, earning more prominent starring roles.