Time: 90 mins.
Rating: Not Rated
Academy Award nominations for Best Actress (Dietrich), Art Direction, Cinematography and Director.
A starkly luminous Dietrich finds herself torn between two lovers in this dark, desert action adventure. The story relies more on emotion and mood than plotting and dialogue. In fact, if you blink you might miss the moment Cooper and Dietrich's characters realize they can't live without one another. Cooper plays a reckless soldier who finds himself between a rock and a hard place when his affair with his superior officer's wife is discovered. The liaison comes to an abrupt end when he meets Dietrich, but it's already too late to douse the flames of jealousy and revenge.
On the flip side, Dietrich's sultry lounge singer was about to settle for a life of financial security with an older businessman played by Menjou, when she is also struck with the love bug. Since their relationship is far from official, Menjou is willing to wait for her to change her mind or her soldier to wind up with a bullet in his back. He believes his patience and devotion will eventually win her over, but money and adoration are no match for uncontrollable passion. In the end, she is forced to choose between a life of comfort with a man she respects, but does not love or a daily struggle wandering across the desert to be with the one she needs. Her choice is romantic and powerful, but far from practical.
If it were me, I'd wait until he was out of the foreign legion before trying to start a life together, but to each his own. I was slightly disappointed by the lack of depth in this tale, but the action scenes and exotic locale almost make up for it. Cooper and Dietrich are lovely to look at and have good chemistry, however, they're not onscreen enough together to completely sell their undying love. As is stands an intriguing, early cinema effort that allows its' stars to shine despite the weak plot.