Cast & Crew
John Merrick and Jerry Somers, attachés to the American embassy in Vienna before the United States' involvement in World War I, attend an elaborate fundraiser at the aristocratic Walden home. At one tent, John and Jerry both purchase a chance to kiss the owner of a dainty perfumed glove, with all proceeds going to the war effort. John enters the tent and is happily met by the lovely Countess Vilma Walden, whom he had briefly encountered earlier. Romance develops rapidly between John and Vilma on the beautiful grounds of the Waldens' Austrian home. Count Carl Walden, Vilma's twin brother who has been in combat, returns home on leave, and at a dinner party, Vilma and Carl's father asks John when he expects the Americans to join the Allied cause against Austria. Captain Wolke, a family friend, arrives and reveals himself to be both a rival for the affections of Vilma and a hot-headed warmonger. When Carl and John discuss their favorite aircraft, Wolke chides Carl for divulging privileged information to the enemy and then attempts to force John to admit that American neutrality is really a sham. The heated confrontation finally ends with Carl and John exchanging tokens of friendship, despite their fears of war. When the United States enters the war, John requests that he not be sent to the Italian front where Carl is stationed. John returns to the Walden home and breaks the distressing news to Vilma, and the couple exchange vows of love by the pool on the terrace. Vilma then promises to return to the pool each day until John's reflection appears beside her own. After four months of duty in France, John is transferred to the Italian front. An Italian officer informs him about the enemy squadron, which is headed by Wolke and his "second-best" flier, Carl, who is believed to be dead. Wolke's plane is sighted, and John decides to take on his old rival. An elaborate air battle ensues over the Italian Alps and ends when John shoots down the plane, only to discover that the pilot is actually Carl, who had borrowed Wolke's plane for the mission. John receives a medal for his act of bravery, but is overcome with grief and announces that he is through with killing. After refusing to join his squadron on a flight against the enemy, John flies instead past enemy lines to the Walden house. There he confesses to Vilma that he killed Carl and begs her forgiveness, which she refuses. John is then court-martialed with Jerry acting as his defense attorney. Despondent and apathetic, he is found guilty and receives a dishonorable discharge and a sentence of hard labor. Peace is finally declared and John goes to visit Vilma, who has turned the Walden estate into a home for war orphans. As Vilma sits by the pool, she sees John's reflection, and the reunited couple embrace.
John St. Polis
Theodore Von Eltz
The working title of this film was Love and War. A pre-production Film Daily news item noted that Joan Bennett had been assigned the female lead. According to the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, Leon Gordon and Imogene Stanley prepared adaptations and continuities of Llewellyn Hughes's story, but their material was not used. The Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection at UCLA also includes a treatment by Adela Rogers St. John, and the legal files indicate that this, too, was not incorporated into the completed script. The companies and individuals who supplied Fox with the authentic aircraft used in the film included: Edward Cunningham and Del Seitz, who supplied one Hisso Travelair Aeroplane; the Wilson Aero Corp, which provided three Thomas Morse Scout planes; and the G. Lincoln Air Service, which provided three Nieuport planes.