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Soldier of fortune Victor McLaglen (as Michael Donovan) is unhappy being employed to watch over playboy Michael Whalen (as George Foster), who frequently gets into trouble with liquor and ladies. When asked by citizens of a small European country to abduct their king, Mr. McLaglen happily agrees. The usurpers don't want their royal ruler harmed during the revolution because he is young Freddie Bartholomew (as King Peter II). At a costume party for royal subjects, Mr. Whalen meets lovely Gloria Stuart (as Countess Sonia), and they are mutually attracted. McLaglen meets young Bartholomew, but balks at kidnapping a mere "kid"...
Bartholomew finds the idea adventurous and insists on going along with the plan...
This isn't the writer's usual setting, but Damon Runyon's "Gentlemen, the King!" feels right at home with McLaglen's presence and Bartholomew's "little king" expressing much fondness for Runyonesque America. The supporting cast is enriched by the presence of Constance Collier (as Lady Augusta) and C. Henry Gordon (as Gino) is an effective lead villain. The black-and-white cinematography by Rudolph Mate is noteworthy. He combines with director Tay Garnett for some striking moments, especially in the castle. Mr. Mate could have given us more footage of beautiful gypsy dancer Rita Hayworth, but he made up for it in her later films.
****** Professional Soldier (12/27/35) Tay Garnett ~ Victor McLaglen, Freddie Bartholomew, Michael Whalen, Gloria Stuart
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