According to Ford, he didn't like the script and was told by the producer to film it exactly as written with no changes to the script. Ford turned the lengthy and unwieldy finished product over to the producer and told him to edit it. See more »
Flat look at two families, the Warburtons and the Girards, who are bound by marriage in 1825 and form a business that places parts of the family in England, America and Germany. All is well until WWI breaks out and soon the families are torn on all issues. I've read numerous reports saying that director John Ford never cared for this film and rumor has it that Fox was really hounding him to film screenplays the way they were written and not to go so far off track. Rumor has it that Ford did exactly that here and turned in a pretty lifeless movie just to prove a point to the studio. Of course, this has never been proved to my knowledge but if you watch the film it's easy to see why this might be the case. I've seen dozens of films from the legendary director and there's no question that he's made some duds throughout but THE WORLD MOVES ON should have been a classic but the end result is so lifeless that you can't help but think there was something going on behind the scenes. Ford has always been great at showing patriotism but that's missing here and it plays an important part of the picture. There are many actions scenes scattered throughout but none of them contain any energy and they come across so flat that it seems like they just set the camera up and started shooting without trying to do anything special. This is especially true during some horrendous comedy moments with Stepin Fetchit, which are just so embarrassing that you really wonder what the director was thinking. I know Fetchit appeared in several Ford films and the image that he plays rubs a lot of people the wrong way but no matter how you view it the way the character here is used is just bad. Performances are pretty good from the leads (Franchot Tone, Madeleine Carroll, Reginald Denny) but they're certainly letdown by the direction. The look of the film is quite good and there's a very interesting story here but sadly it just never comes to life. I think with more care there's a classic movie here.
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