In September 1928, Warner Bros. Pictures purchased a majority interest in First National Pictures and from that point on, all "First National" productions were actually made under Warner Bros. control, even though the two companies continued to retain separate identities until the mid-1930's, after which time "A Warner Bros.-First National Picture" was often used. See more »
During the sequence in the bullfight ring in Lisbon, the footage of the actual bullfight is stock filmed during the silent era at the then-standard speed of 16 frames per second. Spliced into a sound film and projected at the sound-standard 24 frames per second, it looks unnaturally fast. See more »
Richard Barthelmess, Helen Chandler, David Manners, Elliott Nugent, and John Mack Brown star in this excellent psychological war drama directed by William Dieterle about a handful of WWI veterans who do nothing but drink booze and run around Paris with flapper, Nikki (Chandler, in an elegant and moving performance).
What makes this film so special is that it's mood of despair of hopelessness has held up very well over all these years. Plus, the movie's bleak atmosphere and subject matter helps. Sometimes the performances (David Manners) and dialogue comes off as a little dated, but that is to be expected from a movie this old. It is very easy to overlook; and that is really the only bad thing about the movie.
It's a shame that this movie isn't released on DVD or even VHS (thank goodness for TCM). It's a real forgotten gem of early 1930's cinema that hopefully won't remain forgotten for long.
**** out of ****
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