West Point football star Bob Denton is a protege of Colonel Bonham, who considers Bob almost a son. Bob is a ladies\' man who resists commitment, and when he tells girlfriend Evelyn that he has no intention of marrying her, she takes revenge by romancing Colonel Bonham, to whose Arizona base Bob has been assigned. Evelyn marries Bonham, and the colonel, unaware of her former relationship with Bob, encourages Bob in his blossoming romance with Bonita, Evelyn\'s younger sister. With Bonita, Bob finds reason for committing to a long-term relationship, and the two are secretly married. But when Bob is caught in a falsely compromising situation, Evelyn sees her chance to get even with Bob and to protect her sister from what Evelyn perceives as Bob\'s bad attitude toward women.
Laura La Plante ... Evelyn Palmer Bonham
John Wayne ... Lt. Bob Denton
June Clyde ... Bonita \'Bonnie\' Palmer
Forrest Stanley ... Colonel Frank Bonham
Nina Quartero ... Conchita
I suppose this is what they used to call a \"woman\'s picture.\" Laura LaPlante, a fetching, if gnomish blonde, plays Evelyn Palmer, a New York girl (what she does for a living is never revealed) who\'s been dallying with dashing West Point cadet Bob Denton, played robotically by a very young & handsome John Wayne. When she is dumped unceremoniously before Bob\'s graduation, Evelyn woos & eventually marries his mentor, Colonel Bonham, played by Forrest Stanley more like a stuffed-shirt British army officer than an American who\'s spent years in Arizona. The big complication is that, once the newlywed Bonhams relocate to Arizona, Denton shows up for duty &, despite Evelyn\'s triumphant attitude toward him, Denton takes a fancy to Evelyn\'s sister, Bonnie, who\'s the cutest flapper I\'ve seen in ages.
This plot, made today, might have a bit more nastiness in that; it\'s as close to a \"Cruel Intentions\" as you\'re going to get in 1931. That Bob & Evelyn are having a sexual relationship is implied, of course, & it\'s amusing how, later in the picture, every time someone\'s about to say it, that person is interrupted or hushed. More than that, though I saw this on the Starz Western channel, it\'s more like your average sophisticated thirties melodrama than a western. The cigarettes are in boxes, gowns are worn to dinner, & the Colonel\'s house in Arizona is strictly Long Island.
The film features some amusing stock footage of an Army-Navy football game, as well as military maneuvers. But without giving anything away, the film unwinds & then winds up in a pretty cliched manner. For John Wayne fans, it\'s bound to be extremely disappointing, but for those of us who are intrigued by the early days of Hollywood, good & bad, it\'s not such a bad way to spend an hour. But it was way too silly to be moving, & it\'s by the numbers mix-up plot never really generates any suspense.
Melodramatic soap opera about a young lady named Evelyn (Laura La Plante) who is in love with West Point football hero Bob Denton (John Wayne) - unfortunately for her, he\'s somewhat of a brash ladies man who says, and these are his very words, \"My women understand me - they take one look and know they can expect nothing\". Hmmm, well she doesn\'t seem to understand that and expects to marry him - but he dumps her when he realizes how serious she is about him. So she sets out to get even by actually marrying Bob\'s boyhood guardian (without Bob\'s knowledge) and moving to Arizona with the poor older man who is completely clueless about her former relationship. Soon Bob is assigned a post there and stirs things up when he begins a romance with Evelyn\'s flirtatious sister (June Clyde).
This is a very interesting, well done film - okay, I never could understand why women in movies sometimes marry the \"wrong man\" just to get even or just because they can\'t get the man they really want. Laura La Plante plays a role here that isn\'t exactly a very likable person, yet she is such a charming, likable actress herself, her character does manage to come across in an appealing way. John Wayne is okay too (and he doesn\'t look too bad in his tight-fitting cadet uniform pants, I might add). June Clyde, by the way, gives a very enjoyable performance here playing the cutesy, bubbly flirt to the hilt. A good film, worth seeing.
Early in his career, when the Duke worked at Columbia Pictures, Harry Cohn tried him out in this romantic vehicle, for which he received second billing to Laura LaPlante, who plays a scorned Evelyn eventually getting her chance to make Bob pay for calling it quits. This mostly forgotten flick, not even listed in many film catalogs under Wayne\'s name, is best left that way, forgotten and unlisted. Still, as one of the first films that gave him significant billing, he holds his own against his equally forgettable cast mates. As a romantic actor, he fails to impress in his clinches with either of his lovers. It\'s obvious he had a long way to go to become a good actor although he never turned into a great one like the Gables and Stewarts and others then starting their careers. It\'s still of interest to watch the old football game and the cavalry drills in this picture, so it\'s not without its merits. Just don\'t expect much and you won\'t be disappointed. I\'d recommend if for fans of the Duke, just to see how green he was back then. And the girls are pretty and the guys look nice in uniforms, so there are worse ways to pass an hour or so.
This was a pretty lousy film all around and aside from the fact it starred John Wayne, I probably never would have watched it. In his early career that spanned almost an entire decade, Wayne was NOT that popular or famous--appearing mostly in westerns made by studios from \"poverty row\". The term \"poverty row\" refers to the incredibly low budgets and low production values many of these tiny studios possessed. Most of these films, quite frankly, are pretty poor and just aren\'t worth wasting your time on unless you are a die-hard John Wayne fan. I actually do, on rare occasions, like to watch one of his \"Three Mesquiteers\" of \"Singing Sandy\" series films--they are fun and mindless and it\'s also fun seeing Wayne in the most ridiculous situations (such as playing a singing cowboy like Gene Autry). A few of his early films were actually NOT westerns and this is an example of a film made by a not-quite-poverty row studio (Columbia--several years before their glory years and bigger budget films).
So why is it so lousy? Well, it isn\'t all because of the budget, though this didn\'t help. Much of the film was obviously made inside a sound stage and a lot of stock footage of an Army-Navy football game was recycled. However, what really sunk the film was the amateurish acting and, at times, ridiculous script. No one could act, though one of the worst offenders in this department was John Wayne himself! All the self-assuredness and swagger and energy that you have come to expect from him are gone. Instead, he just seems like a very young and inexperienced actor who could have used more coaching--which is exactly what he was. The positive is that films like this DID help to polish his acting (sort of like putting him in the minor leagues for a few years until he was ready for the big time). The negative is that the film is gosh darn awful--being very silly and sloppily made.