Today is the lovely Myrna Loy’s birthday. It is only fitting since I adore her to no end, that I watch a film of hers today. The film I shall be reviewing is an early talking film titled Renegades in which Loy is a seductive vamp.
A group of four French Foreign Legion officers have been placed in jail for disorderly conduct. They stationed with the rest of the legion in the middle of the sweltering desert. The men are a Belgian named Deucalion (Warner Baxter), a German named Machwurth (Noah Beery), a Russian named Dmitri and an American named Biloxi. All of the men joined the French Foreign Legion because they are trying to hide from shameful things in their past. The reason they were disorderly was because they got bored and got drunk. They are told by their captain that they will be staying in the prison at the fort while the other better men will be fighting the Arabs.
Deucalion and the others manage to escape the jail and join the legion. The captain is furious. As payback he forces the four men to bring a TNT charge to the wall of an Arab fort. He is hoping the men will be shot and killed and taken off his hands. Deucalion and the others manage to blow up the wall. Again the captain is furious with them. This time he does not let them pick up a gun to fight claiming he wants them all back in one piece to finish out their sentence.
Deucalion, Machwurth, Dmitri, and Biloxi are given medals for their bravery in blowing up the wall. At the ceremony Deucalion sees a woman, she catches his attention and is obviously shaken. The men crash an officer’s ball that night. The woman, Eleanor (Loy), is there. Deucalion pulls her outside. They had once been engaged years ago when he was an eager young officer with the French Army. The army was everything to Deucalion and his family. To serve for their country was a great source of pride. Everything changed for Deucalion when he met Eleanor. He told her things about the army important things that she would later go and tell the enemy. Eleanor was a spy sent to use Deucalion. He was branded as a trader even though deep down he was not it had all been Eleanor. He could have given her up but he could not he loved her too much. For five years Deucalion tried to find her. He goes to strangle her but a couple from the party sees what has happened. Eleanor tries to play it off she does not want trouble. Soon the incident turns into a brawl between the officers. Deucalion, Machwurth, Dmitri, and Biloxi manage to run away from their pursuers and jump into the water. Biloxi unfortunately cannot swim and he is left behind to take the brunt of the punishment. The captain puts on the other men’s records that they are deserters.
Not long after their escape Deucalion has made a deal with the Arabs to lead their rebel armies against the legion. He has Biloxi kidnapped from the fort and brought to his camp. The same night Deucalion disguises himself as an Arab and kidnaps Eleanor. At the camp he has her treated like the Arab women who are seen as worthless and nothing. For a few moments Machwurth, Dmitri, and Biloxi are on Eleanor’s side because she is a white women, until they hear what she did to their fearless leader.
To make the rest of this short: Eleanor shifts her loyalty to the Arab leader Deucalion was trying to control. The men are sent to attack the legion but when it comes down to it they cannot attack their own men. During the fight, Eleanor is out in the field. She sees Deucalion coming towards the fort. She has the machine gunner shoot at Deucalion. Dmitri sees what Eleanor is doing and shoots her in the back. The former lovers are gravely injured. Eleanor calls out for Deucalion and they crawl towards each other. When she is near Deucalion Eleanor shoots him with nothing but evil in her eyes. After the battle Deucalion, Machwurth, Dmitri, and Biloxi are made heroes.
So, the only one that gave a decent performance in the film was Myrna Loy. This was definitely most vampish, evil role I have seen her in yet. She was perfect. She looked and acted like a spoiled woman and you can totally believe she could use men then throw them away like trash. Loy was twenty-five when she made this film. She looked gorgeous especially in the scenes where her hair has fallen out of its clips and it blows in the wind. Loy’s face looked beautiful. I went crazy with her evil face when Eleanor shot Deucalion it was perfect and so not what I am used to seeing from Loy! Warner Baxter was not too bad. He over acted a bit too much for my liking. The acting besides Loy and Baxter was not that great all the actors were stiff and some over acted especially the actor who played the captain.
Renegades is a film I will only suggest seeing for Myrna Loy and partly for Warner Baxter. Other than Loy and Baxter it is not a film I would say should be seen by everyone. I found the story boring and a bit drawn out. Renegades is definitely only a film Myrna Loy or Warner Baxter fans will like seeing.