Review

  • ... with those three pieces being a war film, a wartime hospital part, and then a gangster film part. All of these parts are good within themselves, but together they produce an incoherent whole.

    Spencer Tracy and Franchot Tone play two WWI draftees who meet and become buddies in basic training. Fred Willis (Tracy) is a bit of a wise guy. Jimmy Davis (Tone) is a shy hayseed bookkeeper. The implication is that Davis finds himself in being good with a rifle. When the two are deployed, Jimmy is badly wounded after cleaning out an enemy machine gun nest.

    After the war, Jimmy just seamlessly transitions to a - hitman for the mob??? The implication is that when "they gave him a gun" he evolves from someone who faints at the idea of bayoneting somebody into The Enforcer. I just don't buy it.

    On top of that we have the two leading men falling for nurse Rose Duffy, played by Gladys George. George was a great character actress, but I'm just not buying her as the angel of mercy who peacetime knits quietly while hubby is out murdering for hire while she doesn't have a clue. For one, she is and looks too old for the part. She was 37 when this was made and looks it. George was best at playing wise "dames" like saloon keeper Panama in The Roaring Twenties.

    You've got good acting in this film and well staged battle scenes, but in the end it delivers a muddled message and is probably one of the last of the American anti-war films inspired by WWI.