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Sarajevo June 28, 1914. Dushan, the Serbian mayor of a Hungarian town, has come to see the parade of Archduke Ferdinand. While there he runs into Geza, an old friend in the Hungarian Army and invites him to come to his house and visit him and his new wife. Tensions between the Serbs and the Hungarians in the Austro-Hungarian Empire reach their boiling point when a Serb assassinates the Archduke and war breaks out. Dushan returns home desperately trying to keep the Serbs in his town loyal to Austro-Hungary while protecting his people from the suspicious Hungarian army. His new wife, Irina, sides with the Serbs and hides deserters in the barn. Geza arrives to search the premises. Dushan gives his word there are no deserters at his home but afterwards his wife tells him the truth and talks him into using his servant Panto to help the deserters escape while she distracts Geza by flirting with him. Geza sees through her ruse but lets the deserters escape because he is beginning to fall in ... Written by
Brian Cady <email@example.com>
Not typical Kay Francis film...but still pretty bad...
The story opens with bustling realism depicting the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria at the start of World War I when Austria and Hungary were divided by political storms. WALTER HUSTON, as a Hungarian mayor, gets initial prominence in the early scenes, with KAY FRANCIS as his wife who is hiding some Serbians from Austrian authorities and who catches the watchful eye of NILS ASTHER, an Austrian officer.
It soon becomes apparent that this is going to be a rather heavy-handed love story (with some pathetic attempts at humor) involving these three against a background of tumultuous political events while KAY FRANCIS and NILS ASTHER have a fling at romantic moments that look like they're straight out of a tear-jerker from silent films. There's even a bit of the smokehouse ham in WALTER HUSTON's performance.
Miss Francis was never a great actress and she needs all her wiles here to make her role as Huston's wife even remotely credible. That she fails is evident from her first appearance and she looks uncomfortable in her period costumes.
Of course, I may be biased. I never did like KAY FRANCIS nor was I able to see her creating a real or likable character in any role she played. Since this is not a typical Francis film, it's a bit more tolerable than most, except for some extravagant overacting in '30s fashion.
It's a film that goes steadily downhill after the well staged opening of the assassination--straining for a sense of excitement and importance but it fails miserably to connect. Lush production values can't hide a mawkishly sentimental script and another teary role for Miss Francis as the wife in love with another man.
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