Laura is a nurse at the Front in World War I. She meets and falls for a young flyer named Geoffrey. On his first mission, Geoffrey is shot down and taken to the hospital where Laura works. ... See full summary »
Laura is a nurse at the Front in World War I. She meets and falls for a young flyer named Geoffrey. On his first mission, Geoffrey is shot down and taken to the hospital where Laura works. Within days he succumbes to his injuries. Faced with the fact that she is with Geoffrey's child, she accepts the proposal of Ed Seward who still wants to marry her. Laura vowes that her new son will never fight in a war again. Jumping ahead it is 1940 and Robert, who is Geoffrey's son, meets Peggy Chase on a Ship steaming across the Atlantic. Ed Seward, who is now the Secretary of State, has adverted War by drafting a peace treaty with a belligerent country called Eurasia. However, before the treaty can be signed, Eurasia has the envoy assassinated and both sides escalate. At home, Laura campaigns for Peace, Ed stands with the country and will fight and Robert declares that he will not fight. In doing so, Robert loses Peggy and sees his family break apart. Written by
Tony Fontana <email@example.com>
Although produced in 1933, the bulk of the film takes place in 1940; events depicting the start of World War II are, of course, fictional and strictly futuristic, but nonetheless on target as far as the date is concerned. See more »
weirdly engrossing: pacifism and patriotism in the 1930s
The future (1940) as seen from the vantage point of 1933. A movie about preparedness for war, the main characters are woman who became a pacifist after her beau died in WWI; her husband, the Secretary of State, a pacifist who turns hawk when war is imminent; her son, also a pacifist, who disappoints his stepfather by refusing to use his knowledge of chemistry to create better poison gases ("the weapon of the future"); the boy's fiance, who refuses to continue the engagement because the boy won't join in the war effort; a dotty pacifist grandma; and Hedda Hopper as the girl's hawkish mom.
With a bizarre cast of characters like this, you can just imagine the plot. It takes the destruction of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Empire State Building, plus the revelation that his real father was a war hero, plus the abandonment by his stepfather, to make the pacifist son realize that he must fight, and likely die (as the enemy, Eurasia, has already invaded New York and seems to be equipped with deadly poison gas).
This is a gem, and thank god we have oddball cable stations that show such stuff in the middle of the night. It is a movie about patriotism that exalts ambivalence, which is the strongest feeling that most of us possess. Although ultimately the movie comes down on the side of the fighters ("Men Must Fight"), the notion that it would be better for all nations (led by the world's mothers) to refuse to go to war is a major theme of the movie. It is mildly based on Lysistrata.
The sci-fi elements stand out as particularly amusing from the vantage point of 2003: both television and picture phones are the norm, but nothing else (and especially the grand old prop planes) is the least bit modern. The prediction that whoever controls poison gas controls the world is in line with the misguided Sadaam-aphobia of our own decade.
For any number of reasons, this flick is well worth watching.
4 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?