When Lt. "Wild Bill" Traynor, bad boy of the Marine Corps, arrives at a San Diego Marine Base, he is surprised to discover he has been assigned to duty under his old rival, Captain Benton (...
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C. Aubrey Smith
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When Lt. "Wild Bill" Traynor, bad boy of the Marine Corps, arrives at a San Diego Marine Base, he is surprised to discover he has been assigned to duty under his old rival, Captain Benton (Conrad Nagel). While eluding the advances of Rosita (Armida), a Latin dancer, Bill becomes involved with Benton's fiancee, Dorothy Manning (Esther Ralston), whom he quickly wins and Benton accepts the impending marriage. On his wedding eve, Bill, in the company of Rosita, becomes involved in a fracas in a gambling joint in nearby Tia Juana. Rosita disappears and Dorothy calls off the wedding. As Dorthy sails for Latin America, Bill resigns in disgrace from the Marines, but re-enters as a Private. Ordered to duty in Ponta Miguel, Bill discovers that Dorothy's father (Hale Hamilton) is the governor. His old nemesis Benton has Bill sent to the guardhouse and Bill is vowing revenge when he is released, only to find that Benton is being held prisoner by a jungle bandit known as The Torch (George Regas.) ... Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
William Haines stars with fellow silent stars, Conrad Nagel and Esther Ralston, in this rehash of several of Haines' big hits from the 1920s.
He plays a brash Marine officer, a rival with Nagel for the hand of Ralston, who sails through life with a smart comment for everybody. But after he goes too far and is drummed out of the corps, he signs up as an enlisted man, goes through boot camp, and returns to plague Nagel and Ralston until the guys get trapped in a "banana republic" uprising and Haines come through.
The Haines formula from the 20s usually cast him as a smart-aleck in a military or sports setting, but the basic plot was the same: in the end Haines "grows up" and learns a big lesson as he wins the girl.
After Haines bailed from MGM where he ranked as a major star for about 5 or 6 years, he returned for a couple of cheapie films at Mascot. Neither one was a hit and Haines disappeared from the screen.
Production values here are about what you'd expect from Mascot. The story is unbelievable, but Haines is still a master comic and breezes through the proceedings. Nagel is stalwart, Ralston is pretty. Along for the ride are Edgar Kennedy, Hale Hamilton, and the very annoying Armida.
The Haines legacy will always cast him as a gay icon, the man who quit MGM rather than give in to L.B. Mayer, and a major star of his time in films with the likes of Lon Chaney, Joan Crawford, Marie Dressler, Eleanor Boardman, Anita Page, Jack Pickford, Ben Lyon, and Madge Evans.
Haines' final film is worth a look.
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