Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5.
USA, 1928. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Screenplay by King Vidor, John V.A. Weaver, titles by Joseph Farnham. Cinematography by Henry Sharp. Produced by Irving Thalberg. Music by Carl Davis. Production Design by Cedric Gibbons. Costume Design by Andre-ani. Film Editing by Hugh Wynn. Academy Awards 1927/1928.
James Murray is terrific as John Sims, an American born on the fourth of July to parents who expect great things of his life. The result is actually quite disappointing when he gets married to a lovely young woman (Eleanor Boardman) and never makes it far enough in his career to provide her with a good life. The hardships of their economic situation, followed by the devastation of a personal tragedy, end up threatening to tear their whole marriage apart unless he’s able to pull himself back together and save what remains of his life. This wonderful slice of the back end of the American Dream is photographed with precision and directed to perfection by King Vidor. The performances are surprisingly natural, with such powerful expressions on the actor’s faces that you’ll feel like you can hear them speak.