Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. USA, 1933. Paramount Pictures. Screenplay by Seton I. Miller, Bogart Rogers, based on a story by John Monk Saunders. Cinematography by Harry Fischbeck. Produced by Bayard Veiller. Music by John Leipold. Production Design by Robert Odell. Costume Design by Travis Banton. Film Editing by James Smith.
Tragic drama made in the shadow of popular hits like Wings and Hell’s Angels. Cary Grant and Fredric March play army buddies whose friendship is ruined when March recommends Grant not be given the opportunity to fly planes in World War I because he is a danger to himself and his unit. Grant never forgives him for this until some time later when he is assigned to serve under March on the battlefield and finds his friend suffering a bad case of shell-shock. Carole Lombard has a terrific supporting role as a gorgeous dame who provides March a few moments of softness and beauty after he attends a society party in London (complete with fur-trimmed Travis Banton gown), but this is only a stopgap before the man reaches the end of his emotional rope. The film puts across a great deal of sincere drama in very little time for a story that would have been banned a few years later as America geared up for another war. The ridiculously dour ending seems more than a bit corny now, but the photography is gorgeous and the acting is great for a movie made in the still awkward early days of sound.