"Its remarkable emotional power clearly implies that Frank Borzage knew it to be his last chance at a silent � a testament, as it were, to the vast possibilities of the medium he had fallen in love with, some sixteen years before."
Scott Eyman, film comment
Made all the more poignant by his striking resemblance to the actor Christopher Reeve, Charles Farrell portrays a victim of The Great War who falls in love with the girl back home. Unlike most American movies, this romantic film has all the poetry and emotion of a later European work.
Shot for Fox from 4 February to 20 April 1929, Lucky Star was Frank Borzage's last silent film... almost. For on 24 March 1929, William Fox decreed that he would stop making silent films for the English-speaking market. Borzage had to film two versions simultaneously, a silent one and a talkie, which had several differences.
Based on a short novel by Tristram Tupper, the film stars Charles Farrell and Janet Gaynor, the same couple from Seventh Heaven (1927) and Street Angel (1928). The silent film takes place in 1917, in rural New England. Poor and dirty, Mary meets Tim Osborne, whose job is to install electric power lines for a bad guy, Martin Wrenn. The United States enters the war. Tim is sent to the French front with Wrenn, who is a sergeant. Tim gets shot in the legs and becomes paralysed... Two years go by. Looking through his lit window, Mary notices Tim in his wheelchair. She grows closer to him; he represents the only element of truth and uprightness in her life of misery. Wrenn's return puts this �unconscious� link to the test. With a final flourish, Borzage lets love conquer all, going so far as allowing Tim to walk again.
Shown in its silent version, Lucky Star constitutes the summit of Borzage's career. According to Herv� Dumont, one of his most ardent defenders, "none of his other films resumes with such clarity and with such poetic imagination the quintessence of his work."