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Phyllis wants to marry Bobby, but Father won't permit it until older sister Celia weds. So Celia invents a military fiancée in Arabia, unimaginatively christens him John Smith, writes him a love letter, and then kills him off. Only there really is a Col. John Smith. Written by
When Bobby comes into the room to remind Celia of that night's dinner party, a shadow of the boom microphone can be seen moving back and forth across a tabletop at the bottom of the screen. See more »
He bids you wear this, always, on your bosom.
[places watch on chain around her neck]
For Smith's sake, whom we both love.
[drops watch down front of her dress. She fishes down her dress as Smith observes from above. The following line has no audio on surviving prints]
By Jove! I say, that's ripping of you!
[turns startled as audio returns]
I beg your pardon!
I am thanking you in my dead comrade's name.
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Celia comes from a rich British family and her father has very peculiar and old fashioned ideas. He won't allow his second daughter to marry until his oldest, Celia (Dorothy Mackaill), marries. Well, Celia is a bit masculine in her style and doesn't appear to want to marry anyone. So instead she creates a fictional fiancé, Colonel John Smith of the British Army. She even writes a letter to this fictional man...and it somehow gets delivered to an actual Colonel John Smith (Basil Rathbone)! In the meantime, she creates a fake obituary and pretends that her beloved was killed. However, when the real Smith shows up, things get interesting!
Like any film from 1930, its style isn't as smooth or sophisticated as talking pictures from just a couple years later. Due to primitive recording equipment, the characters tend to stay in one general spot during most scenes (usually because there was a microphone hidden someplace nearby instead of the boom microphone in later films. And, they hadn't yet figured out how to include incidental music...so it seems a bit odd. You cannot hold these things against the film...it is a product of when it was made.
Overall, this is a cute film with a clever script. The only problem that when it was made it played well...and only a few years later, it would seem badly dated. Clearly, this film could be great if it were remade. As it is, it's clever and enjoyable for someone who appreciates early talkies...others might find it a bit stilted and flat. My score of 7 takes into account when it was made as well as its entertainment value today.
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