29 January 2006 | francois-massarelli
However minor this sort subject is, one cannot fail to notice that, given the date of conception and release, the subject matter(Reminding the general American public of the Jewish contribution to the Independence of the Nation through the portrayal of Haym Solomon)and the direction entrusted to the care of Michael Curtiz rather than, say B. Reeves Eason or Don Siegel, this is not just another short. Warners, at the time, peppered their films(the Sea Hawk is a good example) with allusions to the imminent conflict and this might have been a naive, but very dignified attempt at preparing the American moviegoer of 1939 to the inevitable moment when a decision would have to be taken. Anyway, it is also very much a Michael Curtiz film, even clocking at twenty minutes; Claude Rains is rather good, a bit solemn at times, but the subject demands it; the use of color is quite impressive, but not surprising for a director who experimented with it as early as 1932(Doctor X) and 1933(Mystery of the Wax Museum)and his trademark use of shadows is also present. A theme present in many Curtiz features finds its way in this tiny two-reeler, with Solomon having to make a choice, take sides and leave his mark in history, like Rick and Captain Renault in Casablanca, or Captain Blood... So, although minor, this is pretty much a typical Curtiz Warner film... to be found on DVD alongside a brilliant(But much funnier)film, the 1939 Curtiz/Flynn western Dodge City... not bad indeed.