The title should tell you that this was a flag-waver and in the dark days of 1942, America needed to see Old Glory wafting in the breeze. However, such good taste and restraint are used in the movie that the audience never realized they were being manipulated into the "war mode" and the
result was a box-office hit and a good and proud feeling on the part of everyone who saw it. It's about "the little guy"--one of the scores of people who are behind every fighting man on the battle lines--and the character is not unlike the person played by Robert Cummings in Hitchcock's SABOTEUR.
Young is a happily married factory worker, an average Joe with an average wife, Hunt, and an average son, Hickman. He has the blueprints for a secret new bombsight (like the famed Norden bombsight that turned the war around and permitted high-level bombing). He is kidnaped and tortured by Nazi
thugs who attempt to get him to reveal his knowledge. In order to keep his wits about him, Young flashes back to all the happiness of his life: his wooing of Hunt, the birth of Hickman, etc. He finally escapes and leads FBI operatives to the hideout. The film sought to show that anyone, even the
most ordinary guy, could be a hero in his own way. Executive Producer Dore Schary had started a low-budget division at MGM but refused to make them into exploitation films, feeling that important themes could be brought to the screen at a reasonable cost. Since Schary was a writer before becoming
a producer, he realized that the play, rather than the deal, was the thing and he had some crackerjack screenplays written for him before leaving the studio to join David O. Selznick. This was Hickman's eighth film and he was only 11 years old. Producer Jack Chertok went on to great TV success
with many TV series in the 1960s, including "The Addams Family" and "My Favorite Martian." Remade in 1959 as THE BIG OPERATOR with Mickey Rooney.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: The title should tell you that this was a flag-waver and in the dark days of 1942, America needed to see Old Glory wafting in the breeze. However, such good taste and restraint are used in the movie that the audience never realized they were being manipula… (more)