“I’ll come back to Catherine — I’ll always come back.”
During World War I, an ambulance driver (Gary Cooper) falls in love with a nurse (Helen Hayes) but his jealous friend (Adolphe Menjou) prevents them from staying in touch with one another.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Adolphe Menjou Films
- Doctors and Nurses
- Frank Borzage Films
- Gary Cooper Films
- Helen Hayes Films
- Star-Crossed Lovers
- World War I
Ernest Hemingway wasn’t happy with this Hollywood-ized rendering of his autobiographically inspired best-selling novel — though he eventually became lifelong friends with Cooper (whose performance he admired). Indeed, Cooper and Hayes are fine as the star-crossed lovers whose happiness is repeatedly doomed by the pesky realities of war:
However, their story is essentially a soaper, so your enjoyment of the tale (directed with atmospheric style by Frank Borzage) will depend entirely on how much you appreciate this type of fare. The film is also notable for being made as a PreCode title, and thus filled with plenty of scenes and insinuations that wouldn’t pass muster just a few years later.
Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:
- Fine central performances
- Some refreshingly candid pre-Code content
- Atmospheric cinematography
No; you can skip this one unless you’re a fan of the stars or Borzage.