I'm not sure where to start talking about this movie. With the story, as I usually do? With its place in the works of its director, Frank Borzage? Nothing seems to flow naturally, so I'll begin by noting that its female lead, Pauline Starke, has a look completely different from any other female star of the period... the type of raw, clean, unadorned beauty that would only become fashionable in the 1960s. She reminds me of Ali McGraw. How D.W. Griffith picked her out of the crowds is a mystery to me. That he had Borzage direct her in this "Daughter of the Regiment" style of picture seems natural; it fits in with his Victorian ideals of honor and melodrama. Anyway...
Jack Curtis is in a hurry, so he offers to swap his tired horse and some extras for a fresh mount. The horse's owner agrees, but when he insists on drinking on the deal, Curtis breaks the bottle, and guns are drawn... and Curtis is faster. He disarms the other men and is on his way. He gets home to discover that his child has been born, but his wife his dead. Mountie Joe King shows up, but Curtis escapes, vowing privily to return once a year to see his child.
A year later, he is about to cross back into Canada, when he runs into Pauline Starke, fleeing from drudgery. When he tells her his story, she keeps his secret from King, who catches up with her, but not Curtis. He takes her back to the RCMP post where, over the next four years, she grows up, and they fall in love.
It's a story of duty and honor and the ending is a bit rushed, but it's all very entertainingly done. I'd like to write about the typical Borzage touches, about the magical realism that grows into actual mysticism, but there's none of that here, just a tale very well told for 1917, with some nice melodrama, good acting and pleasant scenery. For my taste, that's fine.
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