Dana Burnet's 1918 Saturday Evening Post story was slim stuff, but provided enough for a 1929 Gary Cooper-Nancy Carroll film. For the remake in 1938 Stewart and Sullavan were cast in the lead roles. It's the middle of WW I and Stewart, a gangly, folksy Texan soldier, is in New York,
prior to being shipped overseas to fight. The streets are chock-full of people who are excitedly celebrating the entry of the US into the fracas overseas when Sullavan's car almost runs down Stewart. They meet and he falls in love with the actress-performer who comes from a totally different
background. She thinks he's a yokel but doesn't tell him to buzz off, as she also finds something charming about his sweet, naive personality. Sullavan's sort-of boy friend, Pidgeon, is content to stand by and let her tour the town with Stewart. Pidgeon finally gets jealous and puts his foot down.
Sullavan insists that she loves Pidgeon and is just being motherly with this young soldier who is about to go off and fight for the country. Pidgeon doesn't buy it--he feels their relationship is getting shaky due to her palling around with Stewart. Nothing actually happens between Stewart and
Sullavan, and when he learns that his unit is about to be shipped overseas right away, he pleads with her to marry him, with no sexual strings attached (they don't have time, as the boat is leaving that night). Even though Sullavan does not love Stewart, she understands how much this means to him
and she agrees to a hasty wedding at the Army camp. Afterwards, she explains the situation to Pidgeon who appreciates her deception and thinks that there will be time enough to tell Stewart the truth when he returns from service. In Europe, Stewart is killed in the front lines during an enemy
onslaught. Sullavan is about to go on stage to do her act when she gets the news. She sighs, wipes away her tears, and walks on to the nightclub floor and sings "Pack up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag and Smile, Smile, Smile" (Felix Powell, George Asaf) as she, and the movie audience, sniffle.
Pidgeon and Sullavan realize the sacrifice that Stewart has made and are united in their love for each other at the conclusion.
The reworking represented some major changes over the earlier version; Salt's screenplay softened some of the hard-bitten side of the chorine and made her a great deal more vulnerable. She is hardly the "Shopworn Angel" here that she was previously, but they decided to keep the title as the 1929
picture had been a hit. Also, the Pidgeon character was more menacing as played by Paul Lukas in the first film. Stewart was appearing in his fifteenth picture at the age of 30 and in his second with Sullavan, the first also being a remake--of SEVENTH HEAVEN, which was considerably less successful
than this. Remade again in 1959 as THAT KIND OF WOMAN.
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