Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5. USA, 1928. Feature Productions, Joseph M. Schenck Productions. Screenplay by C. Gardner Sullivan, Titles by George Marion Jr., from a story by Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko. Cinematography by Charles Rosher. Produced by John W. Considine Jr.. Music by Hugo Riesenfeld. Production Design by William Cameron Menzies. Costume Design by Frank Donnellan. Film Editing by Allen McNeil. Academy Awards 1927/1928.
Inter-class romance occurs when Russian peasant John Barrymore rises in the ranks of the Czar’s army through exemplary service and becomes a lieutenant. He falls in love with a beautiful aristocrat (Camilla Horn) who scorns him because of his low birth and, thanks to his Pepe Le Pew-level methods of wooing her, gets himself accused of indecent behaviour, is stripped of his epaulettes and thrown into prison. During the course of his sentence, Russia joins World War I and the 1917 revolution occurs, turning the tables on the upper classes and giving the peasants a chance to get revenge for the injustices of the past. This also includes the princess eventually showing up in a jail cell in rags at the mercy of Barrymore’s kindness. Interesting plot turns occur in this by-the-numbers romance, and the sets are incredibly rich and beautiful, but it’s about as deep as a thimble.