Director: Frank Lloyd
Year Released: 1933
Multi-decade look at the lives of Robert (Clive Brook) and Jane Marryot (Diana Wynyard) and their servants Alfred (Herbert Mundin) and Ellen Bridges (Una O'Connor) as England goes through its trials: the Second Boer War, Queen Victoria's passing, the sinking of the Titanic and World War I (little did they know at the time that in just six short years they'd be knee-deep in yet another major conflict!). It's an adaptation of Sir Noël Coward's play, and while I respect the attempt to 'encapsulate' several life-changing events in one tidy package, it not only feels a bit compressed but smug as well. The battle scenes (done by William Cameron Menzies) are expressive and creatively done (superimposed bloodless bodies continuously falling over each other) and the anti-war message (from a playwright who claimed to not be interested in politics) is timeless, but it concludes on a false note: Mr. and Mrs. Marryot are celebrating New Year's Eve in their home, and they're reminiscing pleasantly even though both of their sons are dead. Oh, right, it was all for England, James....