The Man Who Came Back. 1931. USA. Directed by Raoul Walsh. With Janet Gaynor, Charles Farrell. 74 min.
Originally announced as a Frank Borzage project, this most unusual entry in the Janet Gaynor/Charles Farrell cycle was in the event directed by Raoul Walsh, whose down-to-earth sensibility is a shade too strong for the material. Charlie is a Park Avenue wastrel whose industrialist father prevents his marriage to Janet, a humble cabaret singer. Flash forward to a drunken Charlie stumbling through Shanghai, where he meets Janet, now a woman of dubious virtue working a kimono in an opium den. What might have been a metaphor for Borazage is, for Walsh, a bordello. The last act moves to Hawaii for spiritual redemption on a hilltop, neatly rendered in-studio by ace designer Joseph Urban. 35mm restoration funded by The Mayer Foundation