Alice Duer Miller's poem was the inspiration for this sentimental look at the ravages of war and at the courage of one woman who lost both her husband and son in the two world wars that dominated this century. Dunne is a Red Cross supervisor in England, awaiting casualties of WWII. At
her desk, she ruminates about her past and flashes back to 1914, when she comes to England with Morgan, her father, a newspaper publisher in a medium-sized town in the US. In no time at all, Dunne meets, falls in love with, and marries wealthy and titled Marshal. They are ecstatic, but their
happiness is brief; WWI breaks out, and Marshal must serve his country in France, where he is killed on the battlefield. By the time of his death, Dunne has given birth to a son, and though the war is over, she stays in England to raise the boy. Played first by McDowall, then by Lawford, the boy
grows to be a credit to his father. WWII breaks out and Dunne becomes a worker for the Red Cross assigned to a hospital in London. The wounded servicemen are brought in for surgery and she is shocked to see that one of them is her son, Lawford, now 24. He is dying of his injuries and she is
powerless to help. At the conclusion, Dunne looks out a window and observes a battalion of American soldiers as they march past, the first such warriors to reach the British shores.
At the advent of the war, MGM made several pro-English features, the most successful being MRS. MINIVER. The studio wanted the same type of success again, but couldn't find the right material until producer Franklin happened on Miller's poem (which was given some additional words by Robert
Nathan). Dunne was busy on A GUY NAMED JOE, but that production had to go on hiatus while Van Johnson recovered from an auto accident. In the meantime, this one began, and when Johnson was able to get back before the cameras more quickly than anyone had anticipated, Dunne found herself working on
two major features at the same time. Beside MRS. MINIVER, MGM had already made GOODBYE, MR. CHIPS and RANDOM HARVEST and was in danger of being classified as a strictly Anglophile studio. This movie didn't achieve the success of the aforementioned films, but still managed a respectable gross of
more than $4 million. Good acting, superior production values, sensitive direction, and one of Dunne's finest performances enhance the film. In order to make the settings authentic, MGM hired Major Cyril Seys Ramsey-Hill as technical advisor; he must have done his job because Britons living in the
US sobbed at the showings.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: Alice Duer Miller's poem was the inspiration for this sentimental look at the ravages of war and at the courage of one woman who lost both her husband and son in the two world wars that dominated this century. Dunne is a Red Cross supervisor in England, aw… (more)