Someone please decaffienate poor Delores Del Rio and open Mr. Lowe's eyes. Alas, no one uttered these directions to our leads. And so is spoiled a film of promise. How much cringing can one endure to enjoy some awesome sets from William Cameron Menzies? Edmund Lowe "sings", but I wouldn't call it music (embarrassing, perhaps). Miss Del Rio, clearly lost for how to act in a talking picture, emotes about 150 miles per hour. Scene after scene for the first 30 minutes is rasberry-worthy. This is such a shame, because work from the seconds and art direction invite scrutiny. A marvelous French village and prison are sumptuously photographed, and Mr. Lowe occasionally recovers the steely, resolved look that kept him popular through the '30's. Certainly, a textbook case of the birth of a new art form, and the difficulties the transition wrought.
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