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S. Sylvan Simon
Artie Shaw and His Orchestra
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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>
In the naval montage, the lead destroyer in the formation is the U.S.S. Sands (DD-243). This Clemson-class destroyer was commissioned in 1920 and saw service in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans prior to WWII. She saw considerable action in the Pacific theater during the war, earning nine battle stars. She was decommissioned in October 1945 and scrapped the following year. See more »
While MEN MUST FIGHT wars, it is the women who wait and strive for peace.
This is a fascinating film, all but forgotten now, which both pleads for peace yet urges action against violent aggressor nations. By supplying strong characters to voice both sides, sometimes changing their minds mid-film, MEN MUST FIGHT tries to please everyone without alienating anyone. Politics aside, it is possible to enjoy the film strictly on the basis of its good acting and compelling production values.
Beginning during World War One, the movie quickly jumps to 1940, where it tries to predict not only the fashions but also the geopolitics seven years hence from its production. Although the future enemy is called Eurasia,' careful observation during the Coliseum anti-war rally clearly shows the Nazi swastika and the Imperial Japanese Rising Sun flag among the montage of dangers, eight years before America's entry into the still-distant World War Two, proving the prescience of the film's creators.
Distinguished English actress Diana Wynyard is a standout as the woman who has seen too much of war's death and tries valiantly to convince others to renounce all warfare. She is well matched by Lewis Stone as her pacifist husband who must rethink his beliefs after high governmental office forces him to confront real dangers. These two excellent performers ably show the full force their decisions have on their most intimate relationships.
Phillips Holmes gives a compelling performance as Wynyard's conflicted son--caught between pacifism & patriotism, he shows the stress going through the mind of any young man facing a really difficult decision. Ironically, considering the film's conclusion, this fine young actor would be killed in a midair collision in Ontario in August of 1942, preparing to fight the Nazis as a member of the Canadian Air Force
Elderly May Robson makes one of her typically energetic film appearances as Lewis' sharp-tongued mother. Pretty Ruth Selwyn does well with her undemanding role as Holmes' patriotic fiancée; stately Hedda Hopper plays her strong-minded mother. Robert Young makes the most of his very brief role as the flier who is the great love of Wynyard's life. Rotund Robert Greig steals a few scenes as Robson's spirited butler.
Movie mavens will recognize Arthur Housman as a shipboard inebriate and Mary Gordon as a spectator during the Coliseum rally, both uncredited.
The film's pre-Code status is well demonstrated by its gentle mocking of patriotism and the way in which the opening scenes frankly present Wynyard & Young as unmarried lovers.
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