The saga of Tom Holmes - a man of principles - from the Great War to the Great Depression. Will he ever get a break? His war heroics earn fame and a medal for someone else, and his wounds ... See full summary »
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The saga of Tom Holmes - a man of principles - from the Great War to the Great Depression. Will he ever get a break? His war heroics earn fame and a medal for someone else, and his wounds result in a morpheme addiction that costs him a job, his reputation in his home town, and months in a clinic. He goes to Chicago, where he's enterprising and dedicated to his work and his fellow workers, but an invention he champions results in the opposite of his intentions, leading to loss of life and an unjust imprisonment. After release, during the Depression, he must face local "red squads" and vigilante groups jousting out jobless men. Will anyone see his true heroic character? Written by
When Ruth arrives by taxicab at the scene of the riot, the camera moves toward the cab and she is seen letting herself out from the back seat of the passenger side. However, after a jump cut, the driver is reaching around from the front seat of the cab and opening the door for her. See more »
There I was, everybody making a hero of me. I accepted it because I didn't have guts enough to refuse it... It went on, and on - the honors piled up. And every one I got made it more impossible to tell the truth. I couldn't let go. I know that all my promotions and decorations belong to you. I know that I've stolen the credit from a real hero.
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Tough film from Warners during the depth of the Depression. Richard Barthelmess is great as the hapless "hero" who endures the misfortunes of WW I and the Depression, addiction and the "red scare." The film also boasts good work from Loretta Young, Aline MacMahon, Gordon Westcott, Charley Grapewin, Berton Churchill, Grant Mitchell, Robert Barrat, and James Murray as the blind solider.
Barthelmess was a major silent star and had a solid career in early talkies in films like THE LAST FLIGHT, THE DAWN PATROL, WEARY RIVER, and others. He also gave one of the all-time great performances in silent film in TOL'ABLE David.
HEROES FOR SALE is terrific because it shows how an ordinary man can beaten by an ordinary life and still be great. As Barthelmess suffers the misfortunes of war and life he seems to grow as a spiritual person. The hypocrisy around him never seems to get to his heart. There's a great scene where Barthelmess is sitting in the rain in a hobo camp when his eyes meet another man's. It's the banker's son (Gordon Westcott) who took the war glory after he thought Barthelmess had been killed. The sanctimonious banker had fired Barthelmess for his morphine addiction, but finally gets caught for stealing from the bank's depositors. The banker and son also did jail time (as Barthelmess did for leading a riot). The ironies of life become full blown there in the rain. A terrific scene.
Barthelmess is wonderful and so is Gordon Westcott (in his best film role). Young and MacMahon are always pleasures to watch.
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