She Goes To War

1516. SHE GOES TO WAR (1929-USA). With ELEANOR BOARDMAN. Directed by HENRY KING. Here is a graphic, vivid early “talkie”Ñ actually, most Of it is silent, with musical accompaniment and about ten percent lip synch dialogue-that chronicles the human experience Of war. The “she” Of the tide is played by Eleanor Boardman; the scenario more than anything else details this spoiled rich girlÕs emotional responses and reactions while coming face-to-face with death at the frontline during World War I. The strength Of the film lies mainly in its atmosphere: soldiers tearfully painfully parting with their loved ones as they head Off to battle; war-weary doughboys endlessly trudging across grimy fields, and crawling through mud while bullets fly by inches over their heads; the traumatized wounded whispering for their mothers in what may be their last words; deadly bombs lighting up the night maiming any and all in their paths. This is all pretty strong stuff, for 1989 or 19291 In retrospect, the irony Of the film’s forwardÑ(remember, She Goes 10 War was made before the rise Of Hitler, and before even the stock market crash and advent Of the Depression) speaks for itself. The film’s makers recall a time “when Americans were fighting in Europe. Will we fight there again? That is the burning question Of today. In a free country as ours public opinion-your opinionÑwill decide it” In the supporting cast: AL ST-IOHN, one Of Mack SennettÕs comedians a decade-and-a-half before, who plays here a comic doughboy and was to go on to appear as the hero’s side kickin endless low-budget Westerns; and ALMA RUBENS, silent screen star and heroin addict, who two years after the release Of She Goes to War was dead at age 33. This is her final film, and she steals it with a deft performance as one Rosie Cohen Of Flatbush, a humble yet plucky canteen worker. 50 minutes. Anti-War Drama