Wilkie and Mitchell, trying to desert their draft into the army, stow away on a ship which takes them into the war zone. While AWOL, the rivals for Mary's affections accidently destroy an ... See full summary »
A. Edward Sutherland
William 'Stage' Boyd,
Brothers Monte and Ray leave Oxford to join the Royal Flying Corps. Ray loves Helen; Helen enjoys an affair with Monte; before they leave on their mission over Germany they find her in still another man's arms.
Two American soldiers are captured by the Germans on the Western Front during World War One and escape a POW camp only to stumble into further life-threatening adventures when they come across an Arabian king's daughter while on the lam.
I just came from the Museum of Modern Art in which this movie was shown in its original, uncensored form -- almost. When they went to reinsert the censored sections, the restoration team found the sound track was missing -- so they rerecorded it. They did a good job of it, since the only way I noticed the reinterpolation was that a little icon appeared in the lower right corner of the screen. Image quality was great, and they made the soundtrack indistinguishable from the rest, adding a low-level white noise that mimicked the standards of the era.
The opening was also fine, with a bunch of elderly diplomats asking Billie Dove to get out of town; it seems that all the Allied officers are hanging around her instead of leading their soldiers to glorious death in the field. When we next see Miss Dove, she is in Venice during Carnival, and that sequence is beautifully shot with a gorgeous moving camera that makes you think it is traveling throughout the Serene City. There she meets Chester Morris....
...And there the movie falls to pieces. With Robert E. Sherwood and Charles Lederer as the writers, I went in expecting some great Pre-Code dialogue. Unfortunately, what we got was dialogue offered uninterestingly amidst a story line that veered between scenes lifted, for no reason, from other movies, like an aerial sequence, and plot points that were both predictable and uninterestingly presented.
While the money spent on this movie shows at all time on the screen, from the high-ceiling conference room to the magnificent garden of Miss Dove's palazzo, after the wonderful opening, this one turns into dull mediocrity.
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