Thirty years before Peter Rogers and Gerald Thomas launched an avalanche of double-entendres and bowel jokes on an unsuspecting world, Bruce Bairnsfather (creator of 'Old Bill') wrote and directed CARRY ON, SERGEANT! (1928), a tribute to the ordinary soldiers and NCOs during the Great War.
Hugh Buckler and Jimmie Savo plays workmates who join up when war is declared, even though Buckler has just married. There are a few subplots, including a shifty-looking fellow visiting the works (and taking photos of some very carelessly unguarded 'secret' plans), as well as the owner's son who joins up, too. Despite one or two rather cramped / economical-looking sets, this Canadian silent held my attention throughout, despite the lack of any music, and the mixture of drama, adventure, comedy and sentiment works pretty well overall.
Of course there are a few loose girls around, including one (Louise Cardi) who has the hots for Buckler, and despite the patriotic tone of the film, there is plenty of grimness, too. It appears that this was Bairnsfather's only director's outing, and one might suspect he had some assistance as it is generally a very polished piece of work. The only odd note was that some of the fashions seemed more 1928 than 1914-18, particularly the cloche hats. However that is a minor quibble which did not affect my enjoyment of this picture.
And probably a little unfair to comment on MAYTIME (1923), from an incomplete print (which is more than was available a few years back), and presented mute. I had assumed that this film came before Romberg's operetta, but this was not the case, Romberg's work being presented in 1917. A story of two lovers separated by class (Harrison Ford is the gardener and Ethel Shannon the daughter of a wealthy man who has promised her to a smooth ratbag of a fellow) and an arranged marriage. However, Ford ends up with Clara Bow, which is surely no chap's idea of second prize. The story then jumps forward a couple of times, characters getting decrepit, and new generations being introduced until the present day...
As it stands, I found MAYTIME rather dull stuff, if handsomely presented and in a good print - or at least the part which is extant. The last scene was in Technicolor, which would likely have helped, as would a decent music score, Romberg* or no Romberg.
*'Will You Remember (Sweetheart)?' is featured in the film, though.