In Burgendorf, Bavaria, Mother Bernle has four sons. Franz is in the army, Johann works at the forge, Andreas tends the sheep. Joseph is riding a hay wagon with a pretty girl when some of the hay falls off, landing on the fearsome Maj. Von Stomm. Joseph gets a slap from the major... The jovial postman has brought a letter from America. Joseph has the offer of a job in the States. But getting there is so expensive... It's Mother Bernle's birthday and most of the town gathers for the dancing. Mother gives Joseph the money she has secreted away. He leaves for the USA... It is "Der Tag", The Day when war is declared. Franz and Johann are excited about their new uniforms. But America is still neutral. Joseph runs the German-American Delicatessen with his new wife Annabelle. The reports of the first German battles with the Russians are good. So why does the postman carry a black-edged letter for Mother Bernle? When America does enter the war, Joseph enlists and meets his friend, the iceman ... Written by
In the New York City sequences, which take place immediately after World War I (1919-1920), all of the women's fashions are strictly in the style of 1928, and all of the automobiles are of late 1920's design. See more »
By chance I wound up watching this wonderfully beautifully crafted film on all counts this evening on Turner. The film work is masterfully done with John Ford's usual care and sensitivity to his audience. Mary Mann is outstanding as the mother of her ever faithful sons who go to war. Many will remember her right away as the sweet Grandma in The Little Rascals "Go fly a Kite" and proves what a powerful performer she was and it's a pity she was not given more opportunities.
James Hall who plays Joseph who goes to America to seek his fortune is a real find and I would like to know more about him. Handsome and quite charming and it's puzzling why he was not utilized in his career as well. A silent film that would be a nice introduction to anyone who has been hesitant about watching this lost art form. Worth the time and love to own this if it ever comes out in DVD.
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