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The Eve of St. Mark Reviews

Maxwell Anderson's Broadway hit adapted somewhat successfully by George Seaton and John Stahl. About a cadre of American soldiers who train and go off to fight in the Philippines in WW II, the picture evoked the disastrous news headlines of the Corregidor march and the battles of Wake Island and Guam. Many soldiers were missing in action and THE EVE OF ST. MARK served to give the folks at home hope that they would be rescued. Eythe is the young hayseed who is in love with Baxter. When he goes overseas, her letters keep him on an even keel. Since the play was essentially a small-set drama, Seaton and Stahl attempted to open it up somewhat but it suffers from its stagebound birth. Price, in an unusual "good guy" role, plays a Shakespeare-spouting Southerner. A few of the Broadway players come to the screen, notably Michael O'Shea (known as Eddie O'Shea on the Great White Way), who had already scored heavily in JACK LONDON. The idea behind the film was to show what our boys were going through, but it was light on action and heavy on dialog (albeit Anderson and Seaton's dialog was witty, trenchant, and truthful). It was not a great success but did much to promote morale on the home front. In the play, the men in the squad don't make it and the realistic effect was devastating. Fox opted for a hopeful ending so we are never certain whether they are rescued, but there is a glimmer of hope at the fade out.