The third screen version of a popular wartime romance has Hayes as a young woman of noble Italian breeding whose father has arranged a marriage to someone she does not love. Before the marriage takes place, though, she meets Gable at a religious festival and runs away to be with him.
Later, the war erupts, and he goes off as a pilot. When he is reported dead, Hayes, deep in grief, joins a convent. Gable is not dead, though, but in an Austrian prisoner of war camp, unable to get any word to her. After two years he escapes, steals an Austrian plane, and flies back to his own
lines. He searches everywhere for Hayes, but when he finds her, she has already taken her final vows, vows from which only a special dispensation from the Pope can release her. Although Gable begs, she refuses to ask to leave the order. He kidnaps her, but still she remains obedient to her vows.
Dejected but understanding, Gable returns her to the convent, only to be killed by an Austrian bomber outside the gates. He dies in Hayes' arms, accepting of her decision. Hayes and Gable are excellent, overcoming the melodramatic material with sturdy and heartfelt performances. Strong
performances weren't enough, though. There simply isn't any chemistry between Hayes and Gable. Hayes would recall years later that Gable was always trying to hide "his big, scarred hands" from his demure costar. The story had its first incarnation as a successful Broadway play, was first filmed in
1915 with Viola Allen and Richard Travers, then again in 1923 with Lillian Gish and Ronald Colman.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: The third screen version of a popular wartime romance has Hayes as a young woman of noble Italian breeding whose father has arranged a marriage to someone she does not love. Before the marriage takes place, though, she meets Gable at a religious festival a… (more)