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Storm at Daybreak

Storm at Daybreak(1933)

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teaser Storm at Daybreak (1933)

World War I provides a vivid backdrop for this tale of a romantic triangle complicated by international tensions. MGM borrowed Kay Francis from Warner Bros. to play a woman torn between her husband, Serbian mayor Walter Huston, and her husband's best friend, Hungarian Army captain Nils Asther. She tries to keep her distance from Asther, but the war keeps throwing them together. Director Richard Boleslawski had studied under Constantin Stanislavsky in Russia before coming to the U.S., where his American Laboratory Theatre trained such future acting teachers as Lee Strasberg and Stella Adler. When his theatre company went bust, he moved to Hollywood, where he had a promising career as a director until his early death of a heart ailment at just 47. He had just come off MGM's epic Rasputin and the Empress (1933) -- the only film to star John, Ethel and Lionel Barrymore -- when he made this picture. His direction really takes off in the scenes connected to the war, particularly a convincing re-creation of the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand (with Mischa Auer as the assassin) and scenes of Hungarian soldiers marching off to war.

By Frank Miller

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