—No Bogie, but Some Fun to be Had—
Bogie Film Fix:
Director: Raoul Walsh
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:
- I posted on the film In This Our Life even though Bogart’s appearance never really happens.
- Director Raoul Walsh would go on to work with Bogart on five more films.
- 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.
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.