8 December 2016 | kekseksa
The trouble with Capra
It is noticeable that most admirers of this film are essentially admirers of Capra and what you think of it really rather what you think of Capra as a director about which there are very much two views.
Personally, I do not care for Capra's films which, It Happened One Night apart, they tend to be simply saturated with false sentimentality that appeals like apple-pie to US audiences but is rather a sickly concoction for anyone else.
Yet he is technically very capable, of this there is no doubt. The war-propaganda films in the Why We Fight series are very fine (quite his best work to my mind) and it is no surprise to me that the wartime sequences at the beginning are amongst the best scenes in this film too.
Langdon is an able comic but, unlike Keaton, Chaplin or Lloyd, his is a rather dependent talent. He is only as good as his director and his scriptwriters. And, despite the long list of people who worked on this script (or perhaps because of it), it never really gets off the ground. And I agree with another reviewer that the pace is execrably slow, especially given the entire predictability of the action.
So this film is rather weak, in my view, not in spite of Capra but because of him... He is trying to turn Langdon into one of his typical sentimental heroes and, for me, it simply doesn't work. For Langdon at his best one is better off with the Harry Edwards shorts made for Sennett 1924-1925, the best being those that pre-date Capra's arrival in Langdon's writing-team.