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|Index||17 reviews in total|
On the positive side, the makers of this film did leave over a few
cliches for someone else. And it is entirely possible that when this
picture was made the story elements had been used only dozens, rather than
hundreds, of times before. But while numerous movies more than fifty years
old have held up very well, this is one that has become an unintentional
parody of itself.
The romantic femme fatale, mourning a lost love of her youth, and convinced she can never love again; the dashing, devil-may-care adventurer, certain that no one female could ever hold him; the middle-aged paragon of duty, service and principle, asking only to be allowed to worship that desirable woman, expecting not love, but merely loyalty, in return; the coward scorned by his mates, living for nothing but a chance to redeem himself. And much more, including British colonials, devious Arab chieftains, the burning desert, a suicide mission, memorable dying words, and of course, a young, spectacularly handsome Errol Flynn.
They don't make them like this anymore.
To see a lovely Kay Francis and a beautiful Errol Flynn share the pangs of romance in the dreamy sunsets of the Sahara is what this movie is all about. A great score by Erich Korngold whisks us along through their complex affair, romantic interludes and Flynn's courageous fight with the Arabs. The charms of the film have a faded edge, but I find this gives it a nostalgic appeal. Francis is wonderful to watch -- she's wistful, stylizes her performance with her usual grace, very appealingly. Flynn is a real handsome figure and gives an earnest performance, showing the conflicts of romancing is best friend and superior officer's wife. This is a pure movie movie -- to be watched for pleasure and the smile of nostalgia.
This is not the sort of movie you'd think it would be, as the film is set abroad and is about a British outpost. Considering this AND that the film stars Errol Flynn, you would expect that it would be an adventure film like LIVES OF A BENGAL LANCER or CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE--and if so, you'd be wrong. The film is purely a romantic melodrama about a woman (Kay Francis) who marries a man he likes and respects (Ian Hunter) but eventually falls in love with suave and romantic Errol Flynn (and, in 1937, who WOULDN'T have fallen for Errol?!). The problem is exacerbated because Francis genuinely loves Hunter as a friend and Errol is loyal to Hunter because he's his commanding officer, but their glands won't be satisfied until they break the awful news to nice-guy Hunter. This is, overall, a very sappy and sticky movie. Some will no doubt like it, but the ardent and more "wussified" Flynn isn't as satisfying a character as he played in most of his other films. And, the plot itself seems very old fashioned and...well...silly. Not a bad film, but certainly a lesser film and one that is mostly of interest to those who want to see every film Flynn made--even the weaker ones.
I watched this movie solely because Errol Flynn was in it. My all time favorite. However I was serendipitously introduced to Kay Francis, one of Hollywood's great female stars. She has since become one of my most adored actresses from a bygone era of great female actresses. Why movie land has not highlighted this movie and these two great film stars together is a mystery to me. Further, it would have been refreshing to see them together on other projects. This movie tugged at my heart as I watched it very late one night. My teenage children thought it was mushy. They were probably on target since they don't get a chance to see REAL acting like this, but rather a lot of sex scenes and nudity. To all E.F. or K.F. aficionado's, rent it, copy it, see it. You'll be glad you did.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I agree with comment #2. It is a story and film from another era and, as such, it was great to have on while I sewed and did wifely work! The people were gorgeous to look at, Kay Francis was excellent, and the idea that people could restrain their emotions and behave like "grown ups" was pleasant. There were a lot of things unsaid and that added to the overall story as the viewer could fill in from their own life experiences. It also means that a child watching it would not get all of the underlying meanings. And that's a good thing. Almost everyone in the cast is a familiar face if you watch old movies. Watch it when it is on and see what they meant when they said "it's a woman's picture."
Errol Flynn and Kay Francis star in this movie about love and adventure. Ian Hunter meets Kay first and promptly falls in love with her, even though she admits she doesn't love him. But he does convince her to marry him and move to where he lives and works, a British outpost in the desert. By this means, she meets his second-in-command and right-hand man Errol Flynn. At first she doesn't take to him, even though most of the female viewers have already at first sight. (But he took to her; that's without saying.) But his hearty laugh startles her as it's similar to someone she loved very much and lost. Then, she begins to see him in a new light and spends a lot of time with him, as husband Ian has to travel to trouble-shoot, etc. Therefore, Kay and Errol, well.... Errol and Kay's good looks and chemistry and the movie's mysterious and menacing locale uplifts the material. And, their love scenes together are very exotic and romantic, with them walking hand in hand and getting caught in the moment, kissing.... Even if you don't consider the leads your favorites, I think you'll agree that Errol Flynn and the lovely Kay Francis do make a very passionate couple, and that you'll enjoy 73 minutes of them.
Fine movie for what it is but 'what it is' won't be to everyone's tastes. Leonard Maltin's Film Guide calls it an adventure story but that's not really accurate. There's very little action in this film. This is a melodrama, a soaper even, as evidenced by the fact it stars Kay Francis. She was one of the queens of the melodrama in the '30s, often torn between two men as she is here. The plot is trite. Francis plays a woman who lost her pilot fiancé in an accident. She meets honorable and all-around-swell-guy Ian Hunter, who quickly falls in love with her and proposes. She marries him despite not being in love with him. Later she meets hotshot pilot Errol Flynn and, well, you can figure the rest. For his part, Flynn is as charming as ever and has good chemistry with Francis. The highlight of the film is the Erich Korngold score, which makes things seem more exciting than they ever really are. A nice production, great actors, and a beautiful score are nothing to dismiss. Still, how much you enjoy this will depend on how much you enjoy romantic melodramas from the 1930s, where everyone stares off at some point and recites a soliloquy like they're in a stage play.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
. . . which are radically different than the American martial marital customs. In ANOTHER DAWN, the screenwriters explore what happens when a Captain gives up his pastime of playing solitaire in favor of regular coitus with his commanding officer's wife. Most every time such a thing comes up on an American military base, the junior officer is defrocked of his command, serves a lengthy sentence in a federal penitentiary, gets dishonorably discharged, and loses whatever government pension he's accrued. That's why it's Standard Operating Procedure for the American Brass to keep it zipped, except when they visit Officers-and-Gentlemen's Clubs. As ANOTHER DAWN illustrates, the British response to this exact same triangular equation is the polar opposite to the U.S. military's. The Brit cuckolded commanding officer feels duty-bound to immediately assign himself to a suicide mission, especially if it's one for which he's ill-suited. It's his corpse that counts, as the Primary Objective here is to clear a glide path for the top commander's wayward wife to be able to enjoy her future jollies with less guilt and apprehension. This is why her upper lip is always so stiff at her husband's funeral.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I quite disagree with the comments of several reviewers here. It's not
that this is a great movie. It's not. But it is a good movie,
particularly when seen from a perspective of the time.
This is not prime Errol Flynn, but after all, it was filmed when he was still quite new to starring roles. So this is an opportunity to see the early Errol Flynn, and I think he does rather nicely.
Kay Franics had been Warner Brother's biggest star, but regrettably they handed her a number of projects that were just plain stale. A year after this film she was labeled box office poison, but not due to this film. Here, she proved once again what an appealing actress she was when she had a good script.
The third "star" of the film was the story. This was another of the the sun never sets on the British Empire films that were so often popular (after all, Flynn had starred in "The Charge of the Light Brigade" just a year earlier). Those films don't set quite so well in our era, but at the time, this was a box office success.
Three supporting actors are worth mentioning here. As time goes by, I am more and more impressed by Ian Hunter, who here plays Flynn's commanding officer. I don't think I'm familiar with Frieda Inescort, but as Hunter's sister here she is quite good. And Herbert Mundin...not that impressive, but her quite likable and one feels sympathetic toward his plight.
As I said, it's not a great film, but it is a good film. You could do lots worse.
The problem with this film is that it is based on a 1919 play from
Somerset Maugham and has many of the sentiments of that period.
Translated on the screen 20 years later it's a bit stodgy, and viewed
many decades later, it seems very dated.
The other problem is that the film stars Errol Flynn but it's not an action film. Flynn was a great action actor, but with some few exceptions, all of them later in life, his best work was in action films.
The music from Erich Wolfgang Korngold is marvelous, and his work later with Flynn on "Robin Hood" would be one of the best scores ever.
If you're a Flynn fan you probably want to see this film, but otherwise it doesn't have much to recommend it.
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