King Vidor had a tough subject to deal with. He knew that he would have to show the horrors of war, and therefore worked his story out in such a manner that it has plenty of comedy relief and a love sequence.
John Gilbert’s performance is a superb thing, while Renee Adoree, as the little French peasant, figuratively lives the role. The same may as well be said for Karl Dane and Tom O’Brien, for it is the excellent work of all these players and the manner in which Vidor has handled them that lift this production far above the ordinary.
Teamwork has made this picture. It makes ’em laugh, cry, and it thrills – plenty. Besides which the captions are an example and a lesson of how it should be done.
The continuity is replete with little things that ordinarily wouldn’t draw attention. For example, while a company of infantry is advancing a German machine gun opens up and sprays the line. Four or five men drop and the middle private of the group becomes rooted to the ground in terror, with his knees trembling.