WriterHorace Jackson, James Gleason Release dateApril 12, 1931 (1931-04-12) (US)
Mv friendship beyond victory lyric
Beyond Victory is a 1931 American pre-Code war film starring Bill Boyd, James Gleason, Lew Cody, and ZaSu Pitts. While John Robertson received directing credit, Edward H. Griffith supposedly took extensive re-takes after production ended and the film was deemed not audience ready. Two actresses with major roles in the original version were completely cut from the final release, Helen Twelvetrees and June Collyer. The original screenplay was written by Horace Jackson and James Gleason. While the film might not have made a profit at the box office, it was well-received by critics.
On the Western Front during World War I, an American battalion advances to the French town of Nevremont, where it is outflanked. Sergeant Bill Thatcher (Bill Boyd) is left in charge of a small rear guard of four men to cover the battalion's retreat before it is cut off. During heavy shelling, Bill tries to comfort his men after each is wounded. The first, "Bud" (Russell Gleason), relates his story of how he joined the military, leaving the family farm to enlist, despite his mother's pleas for him not to become involved in foreign conflicts. As he finishes his story, he dies.
The second doughboy, Lew Cavanaugh (Lew Cody), is a New York playboy who used enlistment as a way to have a final night of pleasure with one of his conquests, never realizing that he would die on a French battlefield. The third American, the unsoldierly Jim Mobley (James Gleason), is not as badly wounded as the other two soldiers and tells his story of his wife's displeasure after he announces his intention to enlist and his own consternation at his inability explain to her why. Thatcher then relates his own story, where he was engaged to a German immigrant back in the United States but did not wed her due to their differences over the "Great War".
Shortly after, the Germans attack again, during which Bill and Jim defend their position and blow up a bridge to cover the retreat of their battalion, but are badly wounded. A German soldier tries to bayonet the unconscious Bill but is stopped by another soldier. Both are captured and sent to a German hospital, where Bill is discovered by his erstwhile fiancé, Katherine (Lissi Arna). She saves his life by persuading the German doctor to allow Bill, slowly bleeding to death but not allowed a transfusion because too many German patients are in need of one, to be transfused with her blood. After the armistice, with Bill recovered and decorated along with Jim for the defense of Nevremont, they celebrate the end of the fighting with Katherine.
Bill Boyd as Sergeant Bill Thatcher
James Gleason as Private Jim Mobley
Lew Cody as Lew Cavanaugh
ZaSu Pitts as Mademoiselle Fritzi
Marion Shilling as Ina
Russell Gleason as Russell ("Bud")
Lissi Arna as Katherine
Mary Carr as Mother
Fred Scott as Fred
Theodore Von Eltz as Major Sparks
(Cast list as per AFI database)
The reviews of the film were mixed. The Film Daily called it a "Fairly good war drama", highlighting the good performance of Marion Shilling. This sentiment was echoed by the Motion Picture Magazine, which called it a "War picture to talk about...." On the other hand, the Motion Picture Herald, described it as a "mixed-up affair, pacifist in theme, and in acting, story, direction and other departments woefully amateurish."