Captain Swagger flies a SPAD with Hat in the Ring markings of the Escadrille Lafayette (but with a rudely positioned hand added. Von Stahl flies what appears to be a Fokker DVII with markings of a snake squashing the Hat. See more »
Rod LaRocque -- Gentleman, Cabaret Dancer, War Hero, and Maybe a Thief
Rod LaRocque, known as CAPTAIN SWAGGER, to his friends in society, has finally gone broke 10 years after his heroism in the Great War? Will he be able to keep up his appearances as a gentleman in New York's smart set if he embarks on a career of armed robbery?
This lightweight bit of fluff just misses being an excellent comedy, and is a worthy forbear to those thirties movies where rich people with immaculate tuxedos, and no visible means of support, wander around drinking, trading wisecracks, and finding the perfect girl. The problem is, as with a lot of the 30s movies like this one, is that there just is no visible chemistry between the leads, or any semblance of reality about the goings on. Too bad, because LaRocque is as good as I have seen him in the films, showing a charm and grace of movement that comes close to suggesting a silent Fred Astaire. (He dances rather well in a sequence that probably had a soundtrack once upon a time, but does not now). If you just want a sample, the beginning of the film, happening in a WWI fantasy-land that is just so Hollywood, shows LaRocque playing straight comedy, and Ronald Coleman like daring-do that seems very far removed from the grim trench warfare usually seen in WWI movies.
After we get away from the War, we get a blah love plot, and decent comedy around our hero's less than brilliant scheme to commit robbery. As is typical, the better moments occur when the somewhat lame plot does not intrude.
All in all, worth a watch if you would like to see what a silent Astaire/Rogers movie might have looked like. For those who notice that the character's name is "Hugo Drummond", you will be disappointed. This is not a typical Bulldog Drummond adventure, though I believe this may have come from a plot by "Sapper".
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