Mae Clarke plays a showgirl reduced to prostitution in World War I London. During an air raid, she meets a naive but good-hearted soldier played by Douglass Montgomery. You can see where this is going.
I bought Clarke’s performance. Her eyes convey the right amount of self-loathing and detachment without looking heartless. Played opposite Montgomery’s naivety, I could buy the mutual attraction. I also enjoyed Enid Bennett’s performance as Montgomery’s upper-crust mother. She charms while staying true to type. Bette Davis plays Montgomery’s sister in a forgettable part.
But while the performances proved strong, director James Whale’s execution left me wanting. The uninspired photography betrays the script’s stage origins, and the telegraphed finale robs the film of what should have been a gut-punch ending. Disappointing, given Clarke’s effort.
- 2016 | Warner Bros.↩