Wayne's second war movie is a big step down from his first, Flying Tigers. That one borrowed heavily from Only Angels Have Wings, a solid enough skeleton. Republic's weak production values and lame romantic subplot can't help this one; Hayward even disappears halfway through. Worth a look only to see how Wayne's persona was evolving. He's goes from unruly and irresponsible at the start to being a disciplined, sacrificial soldier willing to work within the system by the end. Also, perhaps most importantly, features a chance to see Wayne jitterbug; not a sight for the faint of heart.
Fearful, world-weary characters tasked with the demands of military commands, so you know it's a Lewis Milestone war joint. This has the reputation of being more conservative than Milestone's earlier takes on WWI and WWII, and up to a point that's true. The messaging at the beginning and end says explicitly that the sacrifice was worth the effort. But in between it seems like another war gone awry; the absurdity of this battle is lost on nobody, and yet nothing…
Seeing a Preston Sturges film invariably makes me want to track down the screenplay and study it. This one especially. It’s a typical film of his in so many ways.
But unlike most Sturges characters, Fonda’s Charles Pike isn’t the slightest bit irritable or anxious. He’s not really cynical or suspicious of anyone, least of all the bands of con artists who surround him.
That adds to the humor, of course, but it makes for a trusting naive type that…
Taut psychosexual art western and one of the great silent melodramas produced by Hollywood. A woman goes west to the wide open frontier and discovers imprisonment comes in a variety of forms.
The wind is an inescapable metaphor that suggests ideas about sexuality, class, gender, psychology, and imperialism: it’s an obvious symbol like the Parasite scholar’s rock but a richer, more ambiguous one, too.
Sjöström transforms the pulpy melodrama by focusing on the tortured psychology of Gish’s repressed character. It…