Eddie Bracken plays the son of a World War I Marine hero who is the first in his small town to sign up for military service. When Bracken is discharged from the Marines for hay fever, he hasn’t the nerve to go home and tell his mother and the rest of the townsfolk.
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Sturges at his most satirical. The writing mastery of Sturges is on full display.
With ease he takes swipes at American democracy and patriotism - during the height of WWII, no less - and still manages to make it all fun and endearing.
If more proof was needed that Sturges is one of the all-time American screenwriters, look no further. Hail The Conquering Hero is an incredibly witty, astute satire that delves with a great sense of irony into the cult of the "war hero".
My personal fav Sturges film remains The Lady Eve, w/ Easy Living coming a close 2nd (as he didnt direct) but this is top notch Sturges, skewering how a small lie can build to complete chaos quickly. The only thing about this film I felt could've improved was having McCrea in the lead role instead of Bracken. He just did so well with Sturges material. A great supporting cast here, including gorgeous Raines. 4.5 stars
Alternates between focusing on politics, the media, military practice, and social mores, its slightly less funny and less focused than Sturges' masterworks. Still wonderful though, perhaps an essential film.