Powerful and heartfelt anti-war film succeeds despite technical limitations.
James Whale had served in World War 1, and this powerful anti-war film has a strong feeling of authenticity as a result. Whale obviously understood the feeling of being in the trenches of World War 1, and manages to convey this feeling strongly to his audience. In a way the terrible technical restrictions of early sound recording help to convey the claustrophobia of trench warfare - the lack of camera and actor movement make the audience feel like they too are stuck in the trenches. Of course it would have been great if the rare action sequences were less confusing and better filmed, but in the end the film is still quite overwhelmingly emotional. This is due in no small part to the excellent performances. Colin Clive and David Manners are particularly memorable.
Whale does not have the opportunity, in this early talkie, to display the great visual flare that he would later become renowned for, but it is, nonetheless, an auspicious start to a great career. 8/10.
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