Englishman and family black sheep travels the world working odd jobs while dreaming of being a playwright. He meets an admiral's daughter and they fall in love, but he's poor and she's ...
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Englishman and family black sheep travels the world working odd jobs while dreaming of being a playwright. He meets an admiral's daughter and they fall in love, but he's poor and she's engaged to a blustery aristocrat who thinks only of hunting. Will true love prevail? Written by
A charming old-fashioned love story between members of two social classes.
This adaptation of a Frederick Lonsdale play is ground in the social mores of the very early twentieth century wherein a quite poor working young man meets a charming, beautiful and wealthy admiral's daughter. Stories of poor men meeting and wooing wealthy women are difficult to write convincingly for the simple fact that such pairings are unlikely at best. This adaptation succeeds quite admirably because the two principals, played by Robert Montgomery and Madge Evans, are both likable and charming. Evans and Montgomery reveal every nuance of two people who meet and fall deeply in love. This is easily one of Madge's finest acting efforts, and certainly the best of the five films in which she appeared with Montgomery. The screen simply lights up when she and Montgomery are seen cautiously pursuing one another. Their romantic moments are so real that one has to remind oneself that they are acting. It is a fact that, in their private lives, they remained close friends until their death.
LOVERS COURAGEOUS has one serious flaw... the selection of Reginald Owen to play Madge's fiancée. He is far too old for the part. Worst yet, he plays the role much too broadly. Whether this is the director's fault (Robert Z. Leonard) or Owen's fault is difficult to fathom. I tend to see more of the director's hand in this, although Pop Leonard, as his casts fondly nicknamed him, may have left Owen to his own acting instincts. Whatever, it is a stretch to think that Evans would be engaged to him.
If Owen seems off-key, Roland Young more than makes up for it. His is a refreshingly light-hearted interpretation of his role of the Admiral's aide. His scenes with Evans are a delight. It might have proved better to have him play Owen's role.
Frederick Kerr plays the crusty old Admiral who judges people by their social class. His character is really an indictment of the social upper classes who displayed their utter disdain for the working class. Kerr plays it to the hilt.
His social counterpart, Montgomery's father, played by Halliwell Hobbes, is a classic example of some members of the working class who felt it improper to try to mix with the upper class. Hobbes is also well cast. His scenes where he tries to convince his young boy that he should work hard to become a postal worker and not advance his station in life are all too real when one remembers social customs and beliefs through World War 1. It was the time when ocean liners held rigid to the class system, mirroring their passengers beliefs. In wiping out a good portion of the upper class, the war also wiped out the lingering Victorian beliefs and customs.
LOVERS COURAGEOUS runs a little over just 76 minutes, short for an "A" production. It is not an important film. With a little more development effort it could have been... but it is easily one of the most romantic films ever produced in Hollywood and well worth the time to watch.
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