But the main plot of the story is between the General and a local woman named Maria. Maria is due to be married to a doctor but it seems the General has eyes for the saucy woman and does his best at wooing her away from the good doctor. This was not a poor concept as the story seemed to be moving in an interesting direction. Then the production staff felt that the movie needed a bit of playful comedy that included an embarrassing conversation between the General and Maria through a closed door. Thereafter the movie took a much kinder tone as the good/bad General is pining over a woman that was about as detached as himself.
Pedro Armendáriz, that played the General, for the most part did a nice job as the strong fighter wanting the strong female. The way that he handled the change from tough character, that also showed a soft side, was refreshing. In fact, Armendáriz was the only actor in the film that seemed sincere in his role. Paulette Goddard, that played the fiery Maria, came across the screen as a twin of Norma Desmond. She played the part as someone that needed mental help instead of a person that the viewer could identify. She over-played the part and used such odd facial expressions that she became nearly scary. Add the fact that she was forty years old at the time of the filming-- even the pigtails that she wore could not make her the age that the movie want her to appear.
Even with the suspicious acting, the movie did have some nice moments. If some of the actors were changed and the director tone downed a few notches, then this could have been an exciting movie. Instead, we are left with a film that had good intentions but failed to meet the mark that was possible.
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