Although made by independent Liberty Pictures, Paramount bought the film and distributed it as a Paramount production. According to director William Beaudine, Paramount recut the film so badly that it made little if any sense, contributing to the generally bad reviews it received. See more »
Seven of my very favorite film actresses, and all in an unusual tale of WWI
as told through the experiences of the hard-working, dedicated, heroic
women who served right in the thick of battle. Regal yet warm Captain Irene Rich issues a final warning to tough Sargent Evelyn Brent, a war and world-weary vet who cannot help living life in the fastest way, to the point of falling for the upright good girl's betrothed flyer! The first half is slice-o-life with the women going about their day; second half takes them by truck into the line of fire. Despite a performance that mainly illustrates Louise Brooks' assessment of Brent's acting "style," I believe today's audiences can at last appreciate her straightforward, contemporary aggressiveness. Before there was Sigourney, there had to have been Evelyn Brent. In the films at least, you didn't push Brent around or you got pushed back twice as hard, and there's plenty of that going on in THE MAD PARADE (aka FORGOTTEN WOMEN). There's nothing particularly notable about Wm. Beaudine's direction, but the interplay of the actresses elevates the script a notch or two above average. And what actresses! June Clyde makes a smartly modern upright good girl, proving nobody's fool. Delicate silent beauty Marceline Day suffers sweetly, absorbing more bad breaks than any character deserves. Sennett vet Louise Fazenda reigns in her mug to offer a surprisingly effective yet free-spirited performance. All are nicely balanced by "regal yet warm" Irene Rich (a mature beauty, a marvelous cross between a Gibson Girl and Margaret Dumont). Best of all is that underrated American original, Lilyan Tashman as the "best pal," and a robust, fearless turn by rarely seen Fritzi Ridgeway, both expertly spinning gold out of often straw dialogue, and providing the most entertaining and stirring moments in an unexpectedly interesting yarn.
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