Frank Sinatra and Tony Curtis in Kings Go Forth.
Too often, movies tend to follow formulaic plots. You can see where everything is going long before it gets there. Those films that take their own path and have unique endings are rare, but are they necessarily any better? Kings Go Forth is such a movie.
Sinatra as U.S. Army officer, Sam, stationed in France during the last year of World War II. While on a weekend pass to the Riviera, he meets and falls in love with Monique. They begin dating, but she makes it clear that she only sees him as a friend. A fellow soldier, Britt, comes along and steals Monique's heart. Earlier in the movie, Monique, an American raised in France, revealed to Sam that her father was a Negro.
Much to Sam's dismay, Britt and Monique get engaged. Not only is Sam jealous, but he knows that Britt is a love-em-and-leave-em type of guy. Monique may not love Sam, but Sam still does not wish to see her get hurt.
In between dates with Monique, Sam and Britt fight the Nazis for a French valley. The climax of the movie has them sneaking into an occupied town to better direct the artillery. There, the men have a showdown with the Nazi's and each other.
Sinatra does a great job as the third wheel of a love triangle. Wood, who was far too young for both Sinatra and Curtis, should be greatful she was born with dark hair. It is her only physical trait that comes close to looking black. The daughter of Russian immigrants would play a Puerto Rican 3 years later in West Side Story. Curtis plays his usual playboy type character, yet in a few scenes he is so flaboyant he acts gay.
The movie is a love story/war picture but it has more to say. There is so much in life that we have no control over. The best we can do is to learn how to deal with our lot in life. Monique is bi-racial. Sam is the third wheel. Britt is all flash and no substance. While at a school for war orphans, Monique tells Sam that, “Everyone in the world has some kind of a burden, but it is not the burden that is important, it is how you carry it.”
Kings Go Forth is a great movie! It ends on a very realistic note, which is unique in Hollywood films, but it does not make for a satisfying one. I don't want to give it all away, but there is much to be said for a happy ending.
Photos © Copyright Frank Ross-Eton Productions (1958)