Women of All Nations – 1931

Women of All Nations Poster

My Review

—No Bogie, but Some Fun to be Had—

Bogie Film Fix:

NO BOGIE out of 5 Bogies!

Director:  Raoul Walsh

The Lowdown

Two marines (Victor McLaglen and Edmund Lowe) travel the world and fall in love with the same woman (Greta Nissen) while an impish lackey (El Brendel) follows in tow.

What I Thought

I really debated about whether or not I should include this one on the blog, as Bogart’s scenes were cut from the film and his only presence is in the credits.  But I thought it was important to include it for three reasons:

  1. I posted on the film In This Our Life even though Bogart’s appearance never really happens.
  2. Director Raoul Walsh would go on to work with Bogart on five more films.
  3. It’s on Bogart’s IMDB list, and as with In This Our Life, I feel compelled to post on all the films credited to Bogart’s filmography.

So here we go!

Women of All Nations centers around two marines, Captain Jim Flagg (McLaglen) and Sergeant Harry Quirt (Lowe), who apparently had a whole string of comedy films that I’d never seen or heard of until I found this one.

Is it great?  No.  Is it good?  I think it’s good enough.  It’s really a series of short vignettes following both men as they’re stationed around the world.  I thought the film was watchable and even had some laugh-out-loud moments despite the fact that a lot of the online reviews that I’ve seen are pretty disparaging.

The entire cast is good, and while the script is lacking and the plot follows the marines to one location too many, it’s hard to argue that the movie is too long with only a 72 minute run time.

I can’t say that this one’s a must see for anyone, but if you’re one of those people who loves Laurel and Hardy films, you’ll probably get a kick out of this one.  Plus you get to see Bela Lugosi!  That alone was enough to make it worth it for me!

The Bogart Factor

There wasn’t any Bogart to be had!  IMDB says that Bogart “does not appear in all prints.”  Does that mean he did make it into some?   Are there prints out there with Bogie in them?  I’d love to find out.

The Cast

Victor McLaglen plays the uptight, by-the-book, military man, Capt. Jim Flagg.   I have absolutely no complaints with McLaglen as he knows when to reign in the “tough guy” act just enough as to not let it get old.  McLaglen and Lowe work well together, and seem to be thoroughly enjoying themselves through all the repartee.

Edmond Lowe plays the charming skirt-chaser, Sergeant Harry Quirt.  Again, I have no complaints here as Lowe is the perfect counter balance to McLaglen’s grouchy Captain, and both men are obviously having a good time.  Lowe plays, what you might consider, an early version of Hawkeye Pierce as he uses the military to keep himself in fresh supply of liquor and women.

El Brendel plays McLaglen’s (Swedish?) lackey, Olsen, and it’s his film to steal.  From behind-the-back raspberries to losing a cigar smoking monkey in his pants, Brendel is a lot of fun in this film and has amazing comedic timing and great physicality.  I really want to see if he has any other fun films to check out.

Greta Nissen plays the Swedish dancehall girl, Elsa, who both men fall in love with.  Her scenes in the Swedish bar are probably the best in the film, and she’s got a real girl-next-door look to her that will remind you a bit of Bette Davis.  How exactly did she end up in the Egyptian harem again after singing in a Swedish bar???  I don’t remember, and it really doesn’t matter.

Bela Lugosi plays the Egyptian Prince Hassan who somehow obtains Elsa from the Swedish bar and into his harem.  It doesn’t matter how exactly, but it does lead to a running joke wherein the punishment for sleeping with his wife is so terrible that it must be whispered into everyone’s ear rather than said out loud.  Lugosi is big, two-dimensional, and hammy – exactly what you’ve already probably grown to love about the man!

Classic Bogie Moment

No Bogie this time out.  Sorry folks.  But check out that poster again!  That thing is gorgeous, and I’d love to get one for the wall someday.

The Bottom Line

I thought the film was worth a watch, but I wouldn’t argue too hard with anyone that doesn’t like it.

In This Our Life – 1942

In this our life poster

My Review

—A Thrilling Look at a Sociopath— 

Bogie Film Fix:

NO BOGIE NO BOGIES out of 5 Bogies!

Director:  John Huston

The Lowdown

Stanley Timberlake (Bette Davis) is a woman who’s never afraid to take what she wants.  Unfortunately for her sister Roy (Olivia de Havilland), Stanley wants her brother-in-law Peter (Dennis Morgan).

What I Thought

Here’s my first major disappointment while blogging about Bogart.  While I really loved this movie, it was a huge letdown for me to discover that Bogart is nowhere to be seen within it.  According to every online and book-bound Bogart filmography available, Bogart’s credited with a small cameo in the film.  IMDB says he’s an uncredited dancer on a roadhouse table.  The official Humphrey Bogart Estate site claims that he has a cameo as a tavern owner.  After a careful, frame by frame, examination of both bar/tavern scenes, I can definitively say that Humphrey Bogart is nowhere in this picture.

Directed by John Huston, rumor had it that Bogart, Mary Astor, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, and a few others had appeared in the movie as background players for a scene to add a little “in-joke” for Huston fans.  Whether the scene was cut out from the film, or just a hoax to begin with, none of them are visible.

So!  Moving forward – while I’m disappointed that I didn’t find Mr. Bogart, I made a decision early on to blog about every Bogart film in his filmography, and this film is still listed in his credits!  (Plus, it’s a great movie and deserves as much attention as it can get!)

Bette Davis and George Brent are reunited for the second time on this blog (the first being Dark Victory) in a completely different kind of relationship.  Stanley Timberlake (Davis) is in a committed relationship with Craig Fleming (Brent), but she dumps him in a heartbeat when her brother-in-law Peter (Dennis Morgan) agrees to run away with her.

It’s a wild role for Davis, as she’s playing a much more ruthless, heartless, selfish, borderline-sociopathic role than usual.  Instead of using her girl next door charms to win over hearts, she uses them to slowly destroy her relationships with friends and family, and then to literally destroy several lives.  She’s a liar, a cheat, a scoundrel, and temptress – and it’s truly an amazing role for the young Davis.

One of the best things about the film is that we’re left to ponder one of the big unexplained mysteries of the script – why do Davis and de Havilland’s characters both have male names?  My guess (and perhaps it’s actually explained in the novel that the film is based on) is that their father wanted boys, and they were raised in a house filled with subconscious regret and resentment.  Could this have led Stanley down her road of deviousness?  Is this what hardened Roy’s heart to move on so quickly after her husband leaves her?  It’s not explained, and doesn’t need to be, but it’s a great bit to ponder long after the film is over.

This was my first viewing of In This Our Life, and I’ve never heard or seen much press on it before.  John Huston has filmed a great psychological drama/thriller, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

The Bogart Factor

He doesn’t factor in at all!  What’s the story?  How did this rumor start?  Was a scene actually filmed?  Did Huston find it too distracting to have all those famous stars in the background?  Was the scene cut from my newer copy of the film?  Is Bogart really there, but all we get is an elbow or the back of his head?  Was it a hoax started by a fan or reporter?  Does the scene exist but in a different movie?

There are two scenes that take place in a bar/roadhouse.  I watched them both on an HD screen multiple times.  If Bogart’s there, it’s so slight that it makes no difference.  Part of me wants to argue that it’s probably a hoax, as it would seem silly to get all those stars together just for a short joke.  But if they were all still under contract, they could have all been on the lot, and it might have been an easy shoot . . .

Either way, I’ve emailed the Humphrey Bogart Estate to ask them their opinion, and I’ll post it if I get a response!

The Cast

George Brent and Olivia de Havilland were excellent as the spurned lovers, Craig Fleming and Roy Timberlake.  I thought Huston handled their courtship with perfection, and it was a much more believable take on how people fall in love in the real world, rather than with cinema magic.

Dennis Morgan has plenty of angst in the role of Peter Kingsma, Davis’ wild fling that goes horribly wrong.  I need to check out his other films!

Perhaps the standout of the film is Charles Coburn as Uncle William.  There’s a great scene in his den as Bette Davis tries to ask/flirt for money.  It’s here that we get the crux of Stanley’s tragic flaw as Uncle William explains to her that they’re both cut from the same cloth.  When they want something, they just take it – regardless of the consequences.

Classic Bogie Bette Moment

I’ll give Bette Davis an honorary nod here since Bogie’s not in the film.

There was a second in the movie that I was almost ready to give Bette’s wild home-wrecker one more chance.  She’s standing by her new console radio with her shoes resting on top of it, daydreaming about some unknown mischief.  As the music plays, she subtly begins to dance the shoes with her hands in time to the music.  It’s exactly the kind of thing that would have made me fall in love with her in any other film, and it’s exactly the kind of thing that creeps you out as you watch it here with Davis in such a dastardly role.

The Bottom Line

No Bogie, but GREAT Bette.  I’ll take it.