Back from the war, Sergeant Fredric March lubricates his bank job with booze; ex-flyboy Dana Andrews returns to a dead marriage; and armless seaman Harold Russell—an actual war amputee—faces the girl he left behind. An overwhelming box office and critical hit: seven Oscars including Best Picture, Actor (March), Supporting Actor (Russell), and Director. Directed by William Wyler; written by Robert E. Sherwood; produced by Samuel Goldwyn. —American Film Institute
Wyler was born Wilhelm Weiller to a Jewish family, a Swiss father and a German mother, in Mulhouse in the French region of Alsace (then part of the German Empire). His mother was a cousin of Carl Laemmle, founder of Universal Pictures. His father, Leopold, started as a traveling salesman which he later turned into a thriving haberdashery business.
During his childhood Wyler attended a number of schools and developed a reputation as “something of a hellraiser,” being expelled more than once for misbehavior. His mother often took him and his older brother Robert, to concerts, opera, and the theatre, as well as the early cinema. Sometimes at home his family and their friends would stage amateur theatricals for personal enjoyment.
After realizing that William was not interested in the family business, and having suffered through a terrible year financially after World War I, his mother, Melanie, contacted her distant cousin about opportunities for him. Laemmle was in the habit… read more
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