Wednesday, 16 May 2012

men without women

Not the story of my life but the name of another of Charles K Gerrard's five thousand movies. Another irresistible synopsis*:

Aboard the U.S. submarine S13 in the China seas, Chief Torpedoman Burke goes about his duties. In actuality, he is Quartermaine, the infamous former commander of the British ship Royal Scot, which was sunk by Germans with a Field Marshal aboard. Quartermaine had told his sweetheart that the Field Marshal would be aboard, not knowing that she was an informant for the enemy. When the S13 sinks, Burke takes charge when the commander, Ensign Price, is unable to command. Burke must keep his mates alive long enough on the bottom of the sea for rescuers to arrive

If that isn't interesting enough on its own, the film is right on the silent/talkie boundary and one extant version uses a mix of sound and title cards. John Wayne is in it.

* If someone tries to persuade you that it was based on the play "Submerged" by Clay Shaw**, who was the only person tried for conspiring to assassinate JFK, you can tell them they are out of their tiny minds. Men Without Women was released in 1930, when Shaw was about 17 years old.***

** An interesting life. He was a Chevalier of the Crown of Belgium, among other things. Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner) thought Clay (Tommy Lee Jones) was heavily involved in the assassination, far to the right, and closetedly gay.

*** Or can you tell them they are out of their tiny minds? Another website says he wrote the play at High School, and it won a state wide contest. It's still being produced by drama clubs seventy-five years later. Not bad. My guess is that it was not the basis for the movie, but I haven't read it.

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