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It's the hope that sustains the spirit of every GI: the dream of the day when he will finally return home. For three WWII veterans, the day has arrived. But for each man, the dream is about to become a nightmare. Captain Fred Derry is returning to a...
Interesting how Frederic March was regarded as one of the greatest living actors of his time (major inspiration to Brando) and yet you never hear him mentioned anymore. This was his self-proclaimed most important film role and he certainly does stand out among this ensemble of medium-hitters (one of the more convincing drunks I've seen on screen).
Overall, this is a wonderful, relatively realistic (for its time) post-war picture with just the right balance of cynicism and hope. You really have to admire the direction that William Wyler took here, a soldier himself who had just returned from overseas months before beginning this production. It's plainly evident just how personal of a project this was for him. According to IMDB, his aim was to have a no-frills production and shoot it almost like a documentary (I guess they had a different idea of what documentary style was back then). Whatever superficial frills do show up in the final product are apparently the result of studio interference – notably the score, which Wyler detested.
I certainly have to give the man props.
A great film - one of the best cinematic commentaries on the ways in which the war altered the lives of the men and women who lived through it. The ensemble cast all convey the emotional complexities of their situations, but you'd have to be made of stone not to respond to Harold Russell's performance as Homer.
Three men dealing with the consequences of the sacrifices they made during the war and the brotherhood and fraternity that develops on their arrival home. Honest and caring without ever being over-sentimental.
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