Two American soldiers are captured by the Germans on the Western Front during World War One and escape a POW camp only to stumble into further life-threatening adventures when they come across an Arabian king's daughter while on the lam.
Joe Merrill, son of the millionaire owner of a chain of 5 and 10 cent stores, poses as Joe Grant, and takes a job in the stockroom of one of his father's stores, to prove that he can be a ... See full summary »
Charles 'Buddy' Rogers,
A meek Belgian soldier (Harry Langdon) fighting in World War I receives penpal letters and a photo from "Mary Brown", an American girl he has never met. He becomes infatuated with her by ... See full summary »
Tina works as a barmaid at the Red Mill Tavern and is at the mercy of volatile and bad tempered owner, Willem. Dennis is a visitor to the area and Tina soon falls in love with him. Dennis doesn't share her feeling and leaves only to return later on. He becomes interested in Gretchen, the Burgomaster's daughter. However, Gretchen, about to enter into an arranged marriage with the Governor, is in love with Captain Jacop Van Goop. Tina and Gretchen enter into an elaborate masquerade in order to be with the men they each love. Written by
Despite watching this film in a less than ideal print, with a canned soundtrack (as of this writing, I hope TCM eventually airs this film with a good soundtrack based on the public domain music of Victor Herbert for this operetta -- I know they have it in their library, what are they waiting for???), I really enjoyed this romantic comedy. Although still essentially a period piece (Hearst loved those and kept putting Marion in them), Marion Davies' screwball comedy skills brighten up the whole picture, which otherwise would have been just a quaint little programmer, soon forgotten.
Marion is ably supported by handsome Owen Moore (Mary Pickford's first husband), and additional comic relief is provided by wonderful Karl Dane (who looks almost handsome here!), and perky Louise Fazenda, who actually was quite pretty when young, so it was brave of her to agree to look ugly for this film. Not to mention our own little favorite funny man, Snitz Edwards, who is always a barrel of laughs in every film he's in, simply by hamming it up for the camera.
The plot doesn't have much to do with the Victor Herbert operetta; that was more of a serious story, and sometimes the pace of this film seemed a bit fragmented, but overall it really is a crowd-pleaser and needs to be more widely available; just one more example of Marion Davies' astounding comedic abilities. She was so much more than just Hearst's paramour! She was the first screwball comedienne! (Also a woman with a big heart, since apparently she was instrumental in getting Roscoe Arbuckle this directorial job and I'm sure his influence added to the comedy).
8 out of 10.
Update: TCM is airing this film in April 2007 for the first time.
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