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The Crimson Moviegoer

"They Gave Him a Gun" Interesting Account Of War's Effect On A Small Town Boy.


"They Gave Him a Gun" is the story of a youth whose aversion to killing in 1917 turns into his source of income as a racketeer after the Armistice. Knowing he is weak both in physique and in character, the War teaches him the warped idea that with a gun in front of him he is as strong as any man. Franchot Tone, looking less like a plucked chicken than usual, gives an excellent portrayal as the dough-boy gangster, and he is adequately backed by the performances of Spencer Tracy and Gladys Goerge.

Messrs. Tone and Tracy are strong champions of the one woman man theory, and Miss George, as a nurse, is the object of Mr. Tracy's affections until the latter is reported killed where-upon she nurses Mr. Tone to health and on the rebound promises to marry him. Inopportunely Mr. Tracy reappears but knowing the respect Mr. Tone has for him refuses to cut in on his pal's happiness.

After the war, Miss George marries Mr. Tone but does not realize in what manner he makes his money until told by Mr. Tracy, who thinks she is responsible for his friend's underworld life. Thereupon Miss George has her husband arrested and makes him take the rap for his own good, living under Mr. Tracy's protection in the meantime. Mr. Tone wants to get back to his wife, however, and escapes from prison. When he wants Miss George to dodge cops with him, Mr. Tracy steps in, tells his friend he, too, loves Miss George, and refuses to let her go. Mr. Tone rightly figures he's made pretty much of a mess of things even though he did mean well and proceeds to get himself shot by a searching party.

It is pretty hard to pass judgment on a picture such as this. The opening seenen of bayonet technique were amusing to the audience when in reality they were far more horrible in their subtlety than the more obvious scenes of death and destruction which make audiences shudder. Miss George is almost over-sincere and shows her age, Mr. Tracy does as well as the script allows him, and though his portrayal seems a bit of a patch-work, it is not his fault. Furthermore, the film falls a little flat in its climax.

In spite of these defects, "They Gave Him a Gun" is worth seeing but should be placed in the upper brackets of second rate films.

The second feature this week is entitled "Life or the Party" with Gene Raymond, Victor Moore, Helen Broderick and Joe Ponner. Inconsequental to an extreme, the picture succeeds in being very funny at times despite the hapless efforts of Mr. Parkyakarkas to add to the gaityAn average news reel and an excellent March of Time comulete the bill

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