A good-hearted, well-meaning war drama about 3 vets returning home and the difficulties of readjusting to civilian life. A nice enough premise but it is in parts a bit too, too dated, too scattered, too bland, and most definitely too long. If it had just focused on one of the 3 vet stories, I believe it would be a much stronger tale. It gets a C+.
Un très grand film dont la mise en scène est consciencieuse, sans artifice ni sentimentalisme désuet, malgré un sujet qui s'y prête facilement. Le film récolta une moisson d'Oscars et autres distinctions dans différents festivals pour la leçon de courage et d'espoir qu'il véhicule durablement... www.cinefiches.com
A great post-WW 2 crowd pleaser. It acknowledges the unfair reality that war heroes had to face on their return, while simultaneously injecting the illusion that, in America, you could do anything you want if you had the courage to fight for your dreams (unless, of course, you happened to be a woman, in that case, you could only dream of being a devoted wife or an insensitive golddigger).
The first half is exceptional: Wyler captures beautifully the sense of otherness and alienation for both the returning veterans and those who stayed behind, and he does this both through careful direction of the actors and disquieting visual cues. Even in the much weaker second half, there are moments of tremendous power (Derry traumatised inside the amputated body of the B17, mirroring Homer's plight - brilliant).
A broad range of subjects are tackled here, and with no little compassion: Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, the need for decompression after a boys-own adventure, the attitude of post-war america, and most importantly the hidden effects of war, revealing the fact that there are never, ever any winners.
The depth of the storyline and the characters is a rarity for 1940s Hollywood, helping to make this film utterly watchable and compelling. Some of the scenes with Harold Russell are heart-wrenching and beautifully scripted. Others are a little melodramatic. And Fredric March is effortlessly brilliant, fully deserving his Best Actor Oscar. This has to be one of the best films of its era.
One of the greatest, most moving evocations of damaged people returning to homes they no longer recognize - all the more moving because this was a 1946 mainstream release with an audience made up of families who understood only too well what the film was about. Human, painful, and poignant.
Starts out seeming like a look at the abandonment of service people by their country once the war's over, but quickly jerks into sickly sweet and thoroughly meaningless sop. Some gorgeous images, some smart dialogue, and a story with all its interesting edges polished to nothing.