John Ford’s second sound picture. O’Brien joins the Naval Academy, endures hazing from the upperclassmen, and rivals his older brother, a Westpoint cadet, for a girl. John Wayne and Ward Bond have small parts as O’Brien’s upperclassmen tormentors. The film culminates with the big Army-Navy football game pitting brother against brother.
Once again, the studio shackles Ford with a “dialogue” director, resulting in an uneven production. The outdoor scenes offer dynamic camera work and better performances. The indoor scenes play like stiff recitals. It’s not an unwatchable mess like The Black Watch, but it’s not worth seeking out either.