Here Comes the Navy

Here Comes the Navy

Ha! They only want men in the Navy!

I know what this film is trying to do. Here Comes the Navy comes across exactly how it means to; the problem is with what it means to do. Part of it is that it stars James Cagney, an actor I like, who at this point had yet to shed the tough-guy image plastered over him by films like The Public Enemy, and thus his character here is written to be a non-nonsense-taking son-of-a-gun. That should be all well and good, but as the saying goes, everything in moderation; a lesson that is lost on the screenwriters of this film, as they have Cagney basically taking no nonsense at absolutely everything in this film. That’s an obvious problem when Cagney’s character ends up joining the Navy, and it should be a recipe for plenty of “boy, what’s he gonna do next”s. Only thing is, we don’t really give a care as to what he does next, because the he in question is such an unlikable prick that even his out-of-character heroics do nothing to save him.

Cagney is Chester “Chesty” O’Conner, an iron worker on a naval dock, along with his friend “Droopy”, who weirdly enough ends up being one of the most likable characters in the film despite his nickname. Anyway; Chesty gets into a verbal sparring match with naval officer Biff Martin, played by Pat O’Brien, and evidently both men aren’t of the type to let things go, as they escalate to a physical sparring match at a gala for the ironworkers, which ends up with Chesty losing the fight, his job, and his girl. Now bound to trying to get Martin his comeuppance, Chesty joins the Navy as well, just to take a swing at Martin when he gets assigned to the same ship as him, which is stopped after all of two seconds when Martin takes his place as his superior officer. As the film goes on, more shenanigans ensue, especially when Chesty ends up enamored with Martin’s sister Dorothy, and it’s going to take something extra-heroic in order for the two men to get over their differences, especially for Dorothy’s sake. Ha; did you see what I did at the end there? I made it as if the heroic actions twice performed by Cagney’s character in the film are intended as the plot resolution, even though actually watching the film makes them feel incidental and almost antithetical to Chesty as a character, given what a tool he is for 90% of the film’s running time. That’s the basic reason to watch Here Comes the Navy; Chesty don’t like Biff, and Biff don’t like Chesty, and sooner or later they’re gonna give each other a once-over, boy howdy! Evidently there is supposed to be entertainment value in watching two men act like complete asses to each other for no reason other than to be complete asses, but that’s the sell of Here Comes the Navy, so there it is. Even with the 1930s-era viewpoint to making and selling the film, I had to admit that the film didn’t look too bad. Part of it was the assistance of the U.S. Navy in the making of the film, which heavily features the USS Arizona as a setting, one of the Navy’s many real warships of the time, and the production value added to shooting the film on a real warship was instrumental in making the film look and feel the way it does. On the other side, there was also a crapton of back-projection used throughout the film, both on shore and ‘aboard’ the Arizona, which made the film instantly feel much more dated than it already was.

This is a good example of a film made specifically for a certain audience mindset at a certain point in history. There is apparently a slew of yuks and chortles to be had by Cagney and O’Brien’s natural enmity and actions towards each other, but only for a 1930s audience; now, it just comes across as stupidly hostile chest-puffing, bravado for the sake of bravado and all that. Unfortunately, aside from that and the production value of the film added by the Navy’s resources, there’s basically no other reason to watch Here Comes the Navy. Even being a comedy that was nominated for Best Picture, it doesn’t have that heft or staying power that a good comedy, especially one nominated for the big one, should have, as I’ve said in past reviews. If I hadn’t been on this odyssey of mine, I might’ve watched it solely for Cagney, who is enjoyable even with the foibles of his character, but with even that, the film probably wouldn’t have been worth it all that much.

Arbitrary Rating: 6/10

The House of Rothschild

The House of Rothschild

Remember, unity is strength.

I don’t have as much of a knowledge of history as I probably should. To that end, it might be slightly amazing that I had never heard of the Rothschild family of European bankers before this film. Even so, it didn’t concern me as much as it might’ve when I decided to start The House of Rothschild; my concern lied squarely with the film itself, which I took to be a sophisticated English period piece along with most of what such a description would entail. That it starred George Arliss seemed to both confirm and alleviate these concerns; he’s a fine actor, and I enjoyed him in Disraeli, but it did seem that he had a propensity to star in just such films as these. Well, once again, I was pleasantly surprised; this is a film very much like Disraeli, in that it is indeed a sophisticated English period piece, but thanks largely to Arliss (as well as the film’s smartly-engineered production), it ends up being much more enjoyable than a sophisticated English period piece otherwise would be.

Mayer Rothschild, the patriarch of the family, lives with his wife and five sons in a Jewish ghetto in Prussia, where he is forced to connive and bribe in order to keep the prejudiced taxmen at bay so that his family ends up better off than he. Upon his deathbed, he lays out his wishes for the family; the five sons are to expand the family’s wealth by establishing banks in the five capitals of Europe, and they are to always remain together, a family business, to improve the lives of both themselves and the Jewish people. Of course, once the sons have done this, enemies are wont to pop out of the woodwork, and the film explores the chess game played by de-facto family head Nathan Rothschild with the other major banking houses against the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars, all for both the lasting effect of the Rothschild family as well as the future of all Jews across Europe. If, like me, you go into this film with little more than the Wikipedia summary of the film, you’ll be surprised to find there’s a lot more to this film than the meager synopsis given there. What’s more, there’s really more to the film than it seems in general. Arliss is enjoyable, though he admittedly does do basically the same things he did in Disraeli; the political intrigue was interesting, and held attention through the film’s thrifty running time; and, for once, there was a musical score, to underline certain sections of the film that needed that added boost. Really, there was a lot that the film did right, and not a lot that it did wrong; the only thing was that the film didn’t seem to do enough of what it did right to really stand out as potentially a great film, or even the best of its year. But still, it was good, and I got through it with no issues, so I’m happy. Special mention should go to the final sequence of the film, which was one of the first shot in three-strip Technicolor, and seemed rather incongruous to the rest of the film (in black-and-white) at first glance, but hey; it was an important advancement in cinematic technology, so bonus points for that.

I was really torn over how to rate this film, mostly because of one thing I said in the previous paragraph; this film does a lot of things right, but it never felt like it did enough of those things to really be a great picture. To that end, as well as being very much a twin film to Arliss’ previous Best Picture nominee, I’m basically giving this the same rating as Disraeli, since I pretty much ended up on the other side of both films with the same mindset. I was expecting this to be a lesser film of this year’s field, and was pleasantly surprised to find that it exceeded my meager expectations. Kudos for that, at least. I can’t vouch for the pure historical accuracy of what transpires during this film, but I can vouch for its entertainment value, of which there is enough to get quite a few people through the running time, so it gets a recommendation on that alone.

Arbitrary Rating: 7/10

One Night of Love

One Night of Love

…Once more I learned that business and love do not mix!

Even with the first ever winner of the Big 5 Academy Awards, there was one film going into the ceremony that had even more nominations than the future history maker. That film was One Night of Love, starring Grace Moore in a picture that seemed, by the marketing for it, to be self-determined to make Moore a massive star because of it. Did it succeed? Well, at the time, Moore was very popular in both opera and film circles, and she did field an Oscar nom for Best Actress for this, so it might’ve. I, however, hadn’t heard of Moore before this, so the marketing for One Night of Love seemed even more extraneous before I sat down to watch it. Nevertheless, the charms of this 1930s romantic comedy were effective, if all too apparent, and I even found myself enjoying the film at times… if only partly.

Moore is Mary, a young singer wanting to break into the world of opera by participating in a radio contest, the winner of which gets to be the student of renowned vocal trainer Giulio Monteverdi. She doesn’t make the cut, but tells her family she is moving to Italy anyway in her attempts to make it. There, after getting a job singing in a cafe, she is noticed by none other than Monteverdi himself, who takes her under his wing with one major caveat: there is to be no romance between them, Monteverdi having released his previous student after having an affair with her. Of course, being a 1930s romantic comedy, you know where this is headed, and I almost don’t even need to put a spoiler warning for it; it’s that obvious. So, with that said, this ends up being all about the journey, how the film ends up getting to its ending, and in that, this is a modest success; I can see why it was so well received upon its release. I will say, though, that thanks to the passage of time, it becomes readily apparent that there is very little (aside from the obvious differences in plot) to this film that makes it stand out from the rest of the pack; the pack being romantic comedies of the decade, of which there are plenty. Apparently, this film innovated a different type of sound recording for the music in the film, which won it a technical achievement award at the Oscars along with the overall award for Sound Recording, but it didn’t matter all that much to me; the film still overall sounded like your typical musical, though that doesn’t mean the music was unpleasant to listen to. Even with that, the film did feel like it was 10 or 20 minutes too long, which considering the short running time that it is says a little something extra as well about the film’s overstaying its welcome, which left me with a sour taste in my mouth after the film did finally end.

There’s a small part of me that wants to take offense to watching essentially identical films one after another, with the only differences being the actual plots themselves, and that kind of thinking is only exacerbated by films like One Night of Love, which do nothing to feel separate from all the other films just like it. In all fairness, however, this isn’t a bad film; it’s just an exceedingly redundant one against the backdrop of so many like films. Taken on its own, this gets the job done (I guess), but that’s not what I expect out of the best picture of the year. If you do watch this, do so singularly, and not along with a slew of fraternal twin pictures that this decade’s Best Picture fields seem to be almost entirely comprised of. Maybe if you do so, you’ll get more out of this than I did.

Arbitrary Rating: 7/10

The Barretts of Wimpole Street

The Barretts of Wimpole Street

It’s life you’re afraid of, and that shouldn’t be.

Going into it only moderately informed, the first thing I noticed about The Barretts of Wimpole Street were the opening titles; I’m not sure why the films of the time deemed it necessary to get as half-inventive with how they presented their title cards as they did, but the ‘photo album’ flipbook method seemed to be the most common of them, and it made another appearance here, all ornately laid out and embroidered in (I was sure) the same manner as the eponymous family themselves. Sure enough, when the film proper started, and I was introduced to each of the major characters, that air of stuffiness started to permeate into my eyes; an air that seemed all too common with films of this type and of this era. Thankfully, the rest of the film knew how to handle itself, so that this air did not become unbearable, of which I was most thankful. Along with that, the film itself actually did have a number of redeeming qualities, and by the end of it I was surprised at how pleasurable a watch it had been.

The ever-demure Norma Shearer is Elizabeth Barrett (affectionately known as Ba), the eldest of the Barrett children living in their estate along with their father, a domineering and ever-pervasive presence in every room of the house, who is played to perfection by Charles Laughton. The patriarch Barrett, in his typical authoritarian method, has forbidden any of his children to marry, even the boys, and Elizabeth, being the eldest as well as the most fragile, currently suffering an unknown illness which leaves her increasingly weakened, is the paragon of the Barrett father’s wishes. That is, until her poetry, frequently published, draws the attention of fellow poet Robert Browning, who seeks out the Barrett estate to meet the poetess herself, and the two are immediately taken with each other. Couple this with some of Ba’s siblings meeting potential lovers of their own, and the family (mostly Ba) must figure out a way to get what they really want out of life from underneath their father’s iron fist. First things first with this one is the cast, who are all particularly good; Laughton being of course a standout, though Shearer seemed a tad over-stuffy with some of her delivery, but I won’t fault her too much, especially considering how much the central relationship actually worked for me for once. It wasn’t scintillating with raw chemistry, but from the first scene Shearer and March’s characters have together, you just feel that they’re totally right for each other, which goes almost as far as sheer chemistry would’ve. Another note was the (once again) lack of musical score, a trait this film shares with so many of the era, but here, for what might be the first time in this second quest of mine, the lack of a soundtrack wasn’t a detriment; the drama of the film’s central method of conflict was enough to drive the actions forward and hold interest, and I went a good chunk of the film through before I realized that there had been no music, so props to the film for being a real film even and potentially with the lack of score. One extra thing to mention is how amazingly frank the film’s closing sections get with all the problems that drive the patriarch Barrett to his actions and what happens as a result of his divulging these revelations; I have to commend a film from the earliest days of the Hays Code for managing to get away with what it manages to, and for making the decision to have it in the film to begin with.

This was another film that I went into expecting another run-of-the-mill production that the Academy somehow saw fit to nominate for lack of anything more interesting, entertaining, or groundbreaking to look at. Again, for what might be the first time in this Best Picture odyssey of mine, I could not have been more wrong with my expectations; this was lovely, in just about every way a film of this type needed to be. Even the film’s weak points turned out to not be weak points in the end; some might not have been strengths, but the film knew how to handle its material deftly enough to avoid falling into the numerous pitfalls that betray other films of this era. I actually went back and re-looked up the director of this film to find that it was Sidney Franklin, who was also the director of Smilin’ Through, and this was so much the superior film to that one it actually surprised me a little. This apparently came in second at the Oscars that year for Best Picture, and I can see why; this hit all the right notes, both from a critical eye and from an appealing one as well. It might not be overtly entertaining, but you’ll get your money’s worth with this one.

Arbitrary Rating: 8/10

Judging Oscar: Best Picture 1932/33

-Year in Summary/What Did Win-

Several goings-on within the Academy happened this year, including a shakeup in the membership that led to the formation of the Screen Writers Guild and the Screen Actors Guild, as well as the statuette award being referred to as an Oscar publicly for the first time during this ceremony. There was also a highly amusing gaff by ceremony host Will Rogers upon announcing the winner of the Best Director Oscar, which if I end up going through Best Director I will detail, but for those who are still curious, you can check the Wikipedia page for this, the 6th Academy Awards.

Once again, the field of nominees for Best Picture was increased, this time to ten; thus, several more films that otherwise wouldn’t have seen a nomination ended up with another laurel to tout. This was also the last year the Academy would use an August-to-July qualification period for films, moving to simple calendar year eligibility the next ceremony, and thus the field of films eligible for this year was expanded to the end of December, making it a 17-month pool of films to draw from. Thus, there are quite a number of films that could’ve seen a nom; some that did, and some that didn’t. Evidently, the Academy still was wising up to this whole expanded-category deal, as they ended up giving the award to Cavalcade; perhaps being a British-set period piece detailing the history of a family against the expansive backdrop of a country’s own history was enough to win top honors back then, but… oh hell, it’s probably enough to still win (or get nominated for) top honors today.

-Ranking the Nominees-

State Fair

-As much as I didn’t care for it, and saw the purpose of making and watching the film even less, I was a little surprised State Fair ended up at the bottom for me; not because it didn’t deserve to be there, but because I honestly thought some other film would end up in last. With this, though, you have a film that’s as tepid a watch as I’m sure it was to make, and with the expanded field, this seems even more superfluous a nomination. The Academy can easily lose this one.

She Done Him Wrong

-With my placement of She Done Him Wrong here instead of higher on my list, I’ve finally crossed that line that I’d hinted at crossing with last year’s fare; I’m going out of order in terms of the bare number rankings I’ve given the films in question. So, why is this lower than the next two films? For one reason: this is a vehicle for Mae West, and for almost no other reason should this have been nominated for Best Picture. It’s an amusing trivia bit nowadays, being the shortest film to ever be nominated for the award, but one single notable feature does not the best picture of the year make. This can leave the fold as well.


-Eventual winner Cavalcade has things going for it, both in the Academy’s eyes and as a film itself. However, everything it has going for it should be enough for the film to win Best Director, not Best Picture, and it did; Frank Lloyd did end up taking the honors for directing, which I would probably agree with. But nowhere is this the best picture of the year; it may be the most ostentatious, which is probably why it won, but that’s all. I’ll succumb to leaving it as a nominee if really pressed, but this shouldn’t have won; no way.

Smilin' Through

Smilin’ Through suffers from a common malady with Best Picture nominees; it’s far too forgettable. I enjoyed the mystery angle of the film’s central premise, but aside from that and some lovely cinematography in the garden location of the film, I barely remember any of this. Re-reading my review of the film, I was surprised to recall that Norma Shearer was even in this, which is a very bad mark against this film if I completely forgot her presence despite her being top-billed on the poster. I could see arguments made either for or against this nomination, but I don’t know if I could come down on one side or the other.

42nd Street

-With 42nd Street, we have another example of a type of film I’ve reviewed that somehow gets nominated for Best Picture despite some gaping flaws, the largest of which is: it is technically not a well made film. I said in the Judging Oscar segment that featured The Big House that the best picture of the year needed to not only be entertaining, but well-done and accomplished as well, and in that, 42nd Street fails. This has charm, and a winning personality, and it’s about Broadway, which is as close to Hollywood as a film can get without being about Hollywood, so I can see the nomination through. But that’d be it.

A Farewell to Arms

A Farewell to Arms provided me with another surprise placement in this ranking. I went into the film thinking it would potentially be in the top three of the nominees, and ended up on the other side wondering why it was as well-regarded as it was. It’s another ‘nothing’ film, with no real benefits or rewards other than the consistently standout direction of Frank Borzage, who didn’t even get nominated for Best Director with this, so where’s the love for this one (and the nomination) coming from? I really can’t say, and if I can say that about the nominee, it’s not the best picture of the year.

Little Women

Little Women finally crosses that threshold of films that I could reasonably see a chance that they could take home the top honors. Does that make Little Women the best picture this year? Nope; it wouldn’t get my vote, and I was surprised to find out it placed third in the actual overall vote for Best Picture. Maybe it’s just my natural resistance to the supposed charms of George Cukor, who did field a Best Director nom from this; aside from the cast, I had little else to praise the film for, and seeing other reviews and comments toward the film, I wasn’t as alone as I thought I’d be.

The Private Life of Henry VIII

The Private Life of Henry VIII was the first all-British production to be nominated for the big one, as well as the first to take home an Oscar; this time, for Charles Laughton in the lead role. While I’m glad that this was nominated, both for being technically a comedy nominated for Best Picture and for being a non-Hollywood film to net a nomination, I don’t really see this winning; comedies are certainly valid, but they don’t have that heft, that impact that dramatic films usually have that resonate with viewers, as well as Academy voters. It’s this that I think makes it so hard for a comedy to get a nomination, and even harder to see it through to a win, and Henry VIII doesn’t do enough to challenge that mindset.

Lady for a Day

-While Lady for a Day has a lot of selling points, from May Robson to the deft handling by both director and screenwriter to the admittedly schmaltzy mood, it wasn’t a clear winner in my mind; I said as much in my review, and looking back on it now, I think I can stand by my comments. That said, the somewhat lesser fare it was nominated against puts it here in my list, and considering how much I enjoyed the film and its selling points, I’m all right with that. Frank Capra may have jumped the gun for a Best Director win when the name was announced, but he and his picture certainly deserves to be among the nominees. I just wouldn’t give it the award.

I am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang

-Considering my merely-moderate reaction to the film when I watched it for the 1001 list, I’m just as surprised as you that I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang is ending up in the top spot. I rewatched it for this segment, and found my opinion of it hadn’t really changed… so why is this the best out of the nominees? If I were to wager a guess, it would be: it’s the most evenly constructed of the nominees, and still manages to be pretty entertaining even with the just-above-average technicals. I won’t go into the potential messages and morals that are at play with the film’s story and all that, but of the ten films presented here as official Academy nominees, I feel this is the best of the bunch.

-What Should Have Won-

Thanks to the extended qualifying period, there’s quite a few films that could’ve seen a nomination. Probably the most glaring omission to classic movie fans would be King Kong, though it would seem to be such a genre film that the Academy wouldn’t take notice… except that it ended up being the 3rd highest grossing film of the year. A similar fate befalls the highest grossing film, Queen Christina with Greta Garbo, which might get a nom over some of the actual noms but wouldn’t personally get my vote. I could see arguments made for both Love Me Tonight and Trouble in Paradise, though I’d personally argue that this type of film’s days shining in the light of the Academy’s sunbeams should be over by now. Still speaking of 1001 list films, 42nd Street got a nod while its twin films, Gold Diggers of 1933 and Footlight Parade, were left out. And on the comedic side of things, The Marx Brothers’ own arguable masterpiece Duck Soup was released, which with the extended field I could’ve seen getting a nom.

-What I Would’ve Picked-

For once, there is no clear-cut winner in my head as the best picture of the year. Of the nominees, I guess my vote would be forced to Chain Gang; of the missed nominations, it would either go to King Kong or Duck Soup, neither or which stood a remote chance with the Academy. Others will likely have some favorites of those I mentioned missed with the Academy, but for me, this was just a mild year all around.

-How Did Oscar Do?-

With the field expanding again, I still fail to see the solid point behind it, Academy. If you’re going to force yourself to nominate more films, make sure it’s a banner year before you do; otherwise, you get this ceremony’s fare. Next year, it’s up again to twelve, and something tells me I don’t have a lot to look forward to. Surprise me, Academy.

A Farewell to Arms

A Farewell to Arms

What does this war mean to me anymore? What does anything mean but finding her?

I don’t have an opinion either way of Ernest Hemingway. It’s been a while since English classes in high school, and even then I don’t think my school ever made us read a Hemingway novel, so I basically have no experience with his work. For a film adaptation of one of his novels to be my first real go-through with Hemingway seemed to me both apropos and ironic, and for this film to be directed by Frank Borzage seemed to be rather inviting, if I do say so. I’ve only seen a small handful of Borzage’s films, but I’ve generally liked his direction in them (even though 7th Heaven ended up shooting itself in the foot by the end of it), so I gathered that I would mostly enjoy what A Farewell to Arms had to offer, both as a film and as a literary adaptation. By the end of it, though, I was left a little puzzled, having felt that as a film and a literary adaptation, A Farewell to Arms had been fairly wanting.

A still-young Gary Cooper is Lt. Henry, an American ambulance driver in the Italian Army in World War I, who goes out one night with his army doctor friend Rinaldi, ostensibly to play wingman as Rinaldi attempts to woo an English nurse, Catherine Barkley. As circumstances are wont to be, Henry ends up wooing Miss Barkley himself, and the rest of the film is the trials and tribulations put in their way by fate to test their love and see if they end up together on the other side of the war. Really, there’s not much more to this one than that, although once again I did enjoy Borzage’s work put into the film; the editing could’ve been a little less direct, but the film gets the job done. The one main aspect that I just couldn’t get into, however, was the central romance; Gary Cooper and Helen Hayes certainly tried their best, but their on-screen chemistry was sorely lacking and not all that believable, and considering the whole point of the film (besides the mild anti-war statement) was these two people trying their best to be together out of their love for one another, it made the whole thing seem somewhat pointless. I was also a little perturbed at how all the random people the main couple meet during the war seem to dislike the main characters so much; it made me wonder what was wrong with those people, instead of how much the main characters were going against code and protocol to be together.

I think the problem with this film is the same problem I’ve had with a few other films of this time period; it just moves forward, without a thought as to whether or not we the audience should actually care about what’s happening on the screen. The film is making itself for the sake of making the film, and little more than that, and that’s something I could never really accept, because the films that are made this way are, as a result, soulless and bereft of purpose. I wanted to like this more than I did, but the film seemed determined to make sure I got through it to the end and nothing else, not even caring whether or not I was invested in the characters or the story during the journey. Even the supposed anti-war message I’ve heard others say the film touts was piddling at best, and nothing that other films haven’t done better, including the Best Picture winner from three years prior. This was well made, sure, but there’s not a whole lot more I can say about it than that.

Arbitrary Rating: 7/10

The Private Life of Henry VIII

The Private Life of Henry VIII

The things I’ve done for England…

I haven’t seen Charles Laughton in too many of his films, but from what I’ve seen, I’ve enjoyed him. This, The Private Life of Henry VIII, was the film that netted him an Oscar for Best Actor, considered an upset at the time over favorite Paul Muni; it’s also, in my opinion, one of the rare comedic acting wins at the Oscars. The research I did into the film seemed coy as to the genre of this one, but after seeing it, I’m surprised it’s not labeled more clearly as a comedy, or at the very least a farce; not only that, it was a pretty effective one to be honest. While the film could’ve done with a bit more gussying up, to put it succinctly, it was still quite enjoyable, especially from a 1930s point of view.

The film, as evident by the title, deals with the reign of King Henry VIII of England, specifically his several marriages and how each of them ended up failing him in various ways. As a comedy, the film takes a very light-hearted approach to detailing Henry’s private life, and the length of the picture is rather short as a result, but like most short films that are at the very least worth your time, it doesn’t overstay its welcome. The film’s weirdly jovial mood was evident from the opening scene, where the workers of the castle go about their merry business… preparing for the wife of the king to be beheaded, in almost a festival-like setting. From there, we flit about the castle with whimsical glee, until finally Henry himself appears in full costume and proceeds to blow the windows out with his sheer personality. Laughton’s bombastic persona and method of trampling around threatened to derail the film when he first appeared, but in some mystical way it ended up growing on me as the film went on, which I credit to Laughton and his natural charisma (not to mention his sense of humor, particularly in the film’s capon-eating scene, which I chuckled through most of it solely because of him). One thing I didn’t care for, and which seems to be a common occurrence in films of the time, is the film’s lack of a score, save of course for the opening and closing credits (and a couple of title cards used during the running time); I’ve never been sure why so many films of the era forgo musical scores as though they were still afraid of the advent of sound, but I can only hope this trend fades quickly.

There’s not a whole lot of baubles or spit-shine to this one, what with the lack of musical score and the underworkings of the film’s construction on full display, but I still liked it. It was enjoyable, and it had that sense about it not to take itself all that seriously, making the film quite a delightful little romp as a result. Only time will tell if the film stays in my memory as opposed to fading away like so many others, but for the time being, I’m fairly pleased. I still don’t think it will end up on top as the best picture of its year, but that the Academy saw fit to nominate a film like this, especially one mostly outside the Hollywood system, is enough of a win for me.

Arbitrary Rating: 7/10