Skip to Main Content
2017-07-03 11:32 am (UTC)
The plot thickens!
I don't understand this movie. The WWI backstory is a stroke of topical genius—it strengthens the stakes of the firewalk and ties it into the reasons Johnny's trying to drop off the map to begin with, so that it's not just an arbitrary opportunity for redemption but the closing of a long-wounded circle; it anticipates Depression-era concerns of the "forgotten man" and makes
Girl of the Port
one of the few Hollywood movies of the time I've seen to deal directly with the war and its aftermath.
Even if it slingshots the recovery at the last minute, the focus on shell-shock is also unusual enough to be valuable. All of that is clever and resonant, exactly the way a screenwriter is supposed to turn decent material into something special. Changing McEwen's ethnicity is . . . not that. Not only is it a utterly superfluous alteration in that it doesn't amend any deficiencies in the original story—which provides, as I sensed it would, plenty of reasons for McEwen's behavior that have nothing to do with being called out racially in front of a crowd—it introduces problems the original story didn't have! It improves nothing. On a merely structural level, I don't understand how it persisted long enough in the script to get filmed. And yet here we are.
This was a parenthesis until I realized it was incredibly clunky.
has a great
on the paucity of American films about World War I. Off the top of my head, I can think of several silents I've encountered on the subject, like
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
The Big Parade
What Price Glory?
(1927), as well as some notable talkies, like
The Last Flight
The Lost Squadron
Heroes for Sale
The Dawn Patrol
(1938)—and I know others exist that I haven't gotten around to—but I agree it's nothing like the volume of World War II pictures out there.
Reply to this
Thread from start
Post a comment in response:
This account has disabled anonymous posting.
You can comment on this post while signed in with an account from many other sites, once you have confirmed your email address.
Sign in using OpenID
If you don't have an account you can
create one now
HTML doesn't work in the subject.
Check spelling during preview
This account is set to log the IP addresses of everyone who comments.
Links will be displayed as unclickable URLs to help prevent spam.
Log in with OpenID?
Forget your password?
Site and Journal Search
Buy Dreamwidth Services
Gift a Random User
Site and Account