Today We Live (1933): Cooper and Crawford

Set in London in 1916, during WWI, Today We Live is a romantic triangle. For a change, the screenplay was written by the story’s original and respectable author William Faulkner. “Turnabout” was Faulkner’s first tale to be adapted to the big-screen, and if the dialogue is stiff, you can’t blame anyone but the writer.

Directed by Howard Hawks just before Cooper became a star, Today We Live gives star billing to Joan Crawford, the rich British girl at the center. A Paramount player, Cooper was loaned to MGM to make this feature. Crawford looks good but struggles with essaying an authentic British accent.

As a privileged aristocratic woman, Diana Boyce –Smith (Crawford) tries to do her domestic chores while her father fights on the front. When the tale begins, she rents a section to the house to Bogard (Gooper), a young American arriving in London as a student.

After getting the news that her father had been killed, her brother Ronnie and her childhood friend Claude are drafted. Diana fall for Bogard, but joins the War effort in an ambulance unit to be close to Ronnie and Bogard. Later on, when the U.S. declares War, Bogard joins the American Flying Corp.

As a result of these situations, Diana and the three significant men in her life are all at the front. When Bogard is believed to be dead in a combat mission over France, Diana returns to her sweetheart. But, following conventions of this kind of melodrama, Bogard is alive. A series of narrative complications ensue in order for the central couple to be reunited at the end.

Despite the caliber of talent involved, in front or behind the camera, the film is not a highlight in the otherwise illustrious careers of the actors involved.

In the second hour, Howard inserts some aerial sequences, passable but not exciting by the standards of the time.

Bogard’s nick name is Bogey, which is strange when heard for the first time.


Running time: 113 Minutes.
Directed By: Howard Hawks , Richard Rosson


Joan Crawford as Diana Boyce-Smith
Gary Cooper as Richard Bogard
Franchot Tone as Ronnie Boyce-Smith
Roscoe Karns as McGinnis
Robert Young as Claude