23 June 2007 | mukava991
tedious and unengaging
Not having read the novel upon which this tedious film was based, I can only guess that it must have been epic and dense with lots of character detail, one of those historical romances the reader can get lost in. Translated to celluloid it becomes a long series of episodic sketches transporting us from the Victorian age to World War One. Brian Aherne comes across as a bland variation of Erroll Flynn; he seems to stand around looking vaguely disappointed much of the time. Amazingly, his character is a highly successful novelist-turned-playwright but we get no sense of what relationship his art has to who he is as a man. Ostensibly he is from the slums but never does he look, act or speak like someone from that social stratum. Madeleine Carroll as always is lovely to behold but is given very little to do. Louis Hayward has the meatiest role as the rotter son but even his character lacks depth. His delivery reminds one of Noel Coward, who, by the way, mentored him early in his career. The whole enterprise has a highly artificial look and feel, particularly in the battle sequences featuring Hayward. All this adds up to a most unengaging 2 hours.