Starring: Fredric March, Dana Andrews, Harold Russell, Teresa Wright, Myrna Loy, Virginia Mayo, Cathy O’Donnell
Director: William Wyler
Summary: Three returning servicemen fight to adjust to life after World War II
Other Nominations: Director*, Actor (March)*, Supporting Actor (Russell)*, Adapted Screenplay*, Dramatic/Comedy Score*, Sound Recording, Film Editing*
-This is a strong screenplay. For a Hollywood film from this period, it’s surprisingly unsentimental and real and covers a timeless subject: the problems faced by soldiers coming home from war, which in large part apply the same to those coming WWII, Vietnam, Iraq or any conflict. The movie takes on the challenging task of looking at three different perspectives, balancing and covering them well for the most part.
-The performances are really good all-around, especially Andrews (who should have gotten the Best Actor nomination), Russell (who holds his own with everybody despite being a non-actor), and Wright who I liked more here than in any of her previous roles. Loy is good as always, but doesn’t get a lot to do for the most part.
-Gregg Toland’s camerawork is effective and for him quite subdued vs. Citizen Kane and The Long Voyage Home), and the score is very good as well
-March’s story isn’t anywhere as developed or interesting as the other two, and it lacks a satisfying conclusion. We see some a couple of things that could end up turning into hooks for a real direction, but instead he just kind of acts as a bridge for the other two stories.
Regardless of how “important” this movie was at the time, it still holds up well as a great drama with strong performances and characters.