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Storm at Daybreak

(1933 b 79')

En: 5 Ed: 5

Adapted from Sandor Hunyady's play, during the world war the wife of a Serbian mayor falls in love with a Hungarian officer.

On June 28, 1914 in Sarajevo Dushan (Walter Huston) sees Hungarian captain Geza (Nils Asther) and invites him to meet his wife. Archduke Ferdinand in a car is assassinated. War is declared on Serbia. Mayor Dushan warns and defends Serbs as men are drafted into the Hungarian army. Peter and two others flee to Irina Dushan (Kay Francis). Geza greets Irina and begins to search; but Dushan gives Geza his word and wine as soldiers are fed. Irina tells Dushan that Peter is hiding. Dushan tells them to escape while Irina sings to Geza. Irina spends time with Geza. Soldiers court the nieces, and Geza tells Irina they are going to the front and that Dushan was accused by his steward Panto (C. Henry Gordon). Dushan makes Panto sign a retraction and fires him. Tipsy Csaholyi (Phillips Holmes) is romantic to Irina, and Janos (Eugene Pallette) courts Militza (Louisa Closser Hale). Irina has an intimate conversation with Geza and tells Dushan he is drunk. Geza dances with Irina, and then the soldiers leave. Soldiers fight in the war.

On a train Irina finds the wounded and sees Csaholyi, who dies. Irina sees Geza, but the train leaves. Dushan brings wounded Geza home and tells sad Irina to be glad. Their horses are taken for the war, and Geza wants to fight. Dushan tells Geza something has come between him and Irina. Geza tells Irina he must live in the village headquarters. She asks him to stay, and Geza kisses Irina; but he goes.

After the war Serbian rule is restored. Panto replaces Geza and tells him to get out. Irina comes to console Geza and asks to go with him. Dushan tells Geza to stay and offers him a job. At Dushan's party Commissioner Panto has search warrants for Geza. Irina asks Dushan to warn Geza, but Dushan becomes jealous and refuses. Irina goes in a storm and warns Geza. Dushan comes in and accuses Geza and Irina. Dushan fights with Geza, and Irina admits she loves Geza; but they couldn't do anything because of Dushan. Panto with soldiers knocks on the door and tells Dushan that Geza will be shot by a firing squad. Janos denies his boss Geza is there, and Dushan says that Geza left with his wife Irina. Dushan and Panto go after them. Dushan drives the coach recklessly off a bridge. In the final scene Irina and Geza mourn at a tombstone.

The historical context of the world war's triggering event frames this romantic triangle in which two friends love the same woman. After the Austro-Hungarian empire lost, a vindictive Serbian stimulates his own violent end that enables the lovers to be together.

Copyright © 2001 by Sanderson Beck

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