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George K. Arthur
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In 1914 France, pastoral life on the Moreau farm is interrupted by war. Son Andre joins the army, a P.O.W. camp is built on the farm, and daughter Mona feels only hatred toward Germany. Arriving, the German prisoners cast approving eyes on Mona, but worsening war news keeps her hostile...until Oscar Muller, prisoner working on the farm, proves himself a good man by his actions. As the bond between Mona and Oscar strengthens, so does the neighbors' vituperation; even with the war's end, tragic results seem inevitable...Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Pola Negri and Clive Brook are terrific in this anti-war love story.
It was a revelation to finally see Pola Negri in one of her silent films. I knew of her reputation as a fine actress, but only saw her in the last American film she made (The Moon-Spinners (1964)) where she had a minor role. Here, she is wonderful as the French farm girl whose hatred of Clive Brook, a German prisoner-of-war in the camp built on her farm, slowly melts. She expresses her anguish beautifully, praying to God not to fall in love with a man from the country causing her brother's death in battle. Brook, in a very low-keyed performance, also shows himself to be an exceptional actor, handling well his concern for her safety from the irate townfolk who brand her a traitor. I could have done without the unsubtle preaching at the end, but this is a minor point. Clyde Cook provides the comedy relief and he's very good at it too. The film is very worth seeing for these actors.
Negri at the time was in deep mourning over the death of Rudolph Valentino, with whom she had had a close relationship. It's a shame that her thick Polish accent prevented her from ever achieving stardom in American sound films.
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