A street cleaner saves a young woman's life, and the pair slowly fall in love until war intervenes. [imdb]
Nominated for 5 Oscars:
Best Director, Dramatic Picture: Frank Borzage (WINNER)
Best Actress: Janet Gaynor (WINNER)
Best Writing, Adaptation (WINNER)
Best Art Direction
It's true, I might've had high expectations for this film, because people tend to write only good things about it, and it's easy to see it came very close to winning Best Picture on Oscar's 1st edition. As it usually happens, the film just didn't do it for me. It started nicely, with a good story and character introduction and the first half an hour or so really worked. But after that, for me it turned uxpectedly boring.
The problem is in the screenplay, which goes silly in the 2nd half: in one continuous scene Chico asks Diane to marry him, someone comes and tells Chico the war has just started and they have to leave in 15 minutes :))), Diane puts the wedding dress on, Chico informs Diane he has to go, they change vows, Chico leaves, 30 seconds later Diane is attacked by her abusive sister, Diane wins. All this in 15 minutes :D kills believability like you can't imagine and turns from romantic and easy-going into soap-opera that's hard to rally behind.
Janet Gaynor turns the little she has to do into something nice, but this is yet another Frank Borzage film that sinks in misogynism and often poor choices. It has its charm, that's for sure, but the story lacks consistency and I just can't justify the Writing & Director wins. I'm very happy Wings won Best Picture, because it's a far superior film.
My rating for the film: 6/10. Why do the fans ignore the major flaws?!