Wednesday, July 21, 2010
The Marines Are Coming (1934)
"He spank me. I liked it!"
Billy is up to his old tricks in this one, stealing the fiancee of the Captain (Conrad Nagel); he seems a bit mature (I'm trying to be kind here) for the role of young upstart. He is amazing to watch, though - I stand by my assessment that he's the Robin Williams of the 20s/30s. Frenetic, hyper, and always intensely likeable.
I didn't want to like Armida as much as I did. She plays a broad, stereotypical "Mexican spitfire" character, deeply in love with Wild Bill Traylor (Haines) and as ready to throw a punch as give a kiss. Her charisma won me over; so tiny, yet so beautiful - and explosive!
Esther Ralston (as the fiancee) is beautiful as always, and does well against Billy's nonstop energy, though she loses some credibility by going from Nagel to Haines like she's changing socks. Why do so many movies of this period portray women as being content to love whomever is directly in front of them?
The end of the picture gives us William Haines, action hero, as he must rescue the captain from guerillas who have kidnapped him. He does some shooting, socks a few folks in the nose; it's kinda cute to watch. You get the sense that they really wanted to hit you over the head with Billy's virility (he's strong, he's tough, and a stud with the ladies!).
Edgar Kennedy does his usual comedic turn, this time as Haines' manservant "Buck". I will say nothing except this: did we really need to see the cough test?
The picture was goofy, sloppy, and Haines' last gasp of youth is palpable (this was his last film). Still enjoyable though. I give this one: