A post-WW II drama that would have been more effective if the US had not seen THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES. It suffered by comparison but had enough stuff to make it ring the cash registers. It featured three of the newer heart throbs, Williams, Madison, and Mitchum, a trio of ex-servicemen come home to a world at peace. Mitchum was injured in the war and...read more
A post-WW II drama that would have been more effective if the US had not seen THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES. It suffered by comparison but had enough stuff to make it ring the cash registers. It featured three of the newer heart throbs, Williams, Madison, and Mitchum, a trio of ex-servicemen
come home to a world at peace. Mitchum was injured in the war and now has a steel plate in his head which gives him a dull pain and a need to drink. Madison is Mitchum's best pal, a small-town boy whose parents, Tully and Nelson, would like him to marry and settle down right away. The third member
of the group is Williams, who has been crippled as a result of war injuries. Williams had the desire of becoming a pugilist before the war and can now only dream of it. Nelson and Tully apply pressure on Madison, while his neighbor, Porter, makes no bones about wanting to marry him, so Madison
goes off on a drunken toot with Mitchum. Madison had met McGuire early on, and when they meet again she urges him to stop wasting time and seek employment. Since he has fallen in love with McGuire, he takes her advice but soon is having hassles with his immediate superior. McGuire is a war widow
and understands that there is a period of adjustment for any serviceman, so she won't agree to become Madison's wife until he has proven that he has the stuff to stick it out in his job. Mitchum and Madison meet in a tavern and Mitchum is in pain from the steel plate. He should really be inside a
medical facility but he resists that out of pride, even though he has no money and is hurting. Williams is now wearing artificial limbs and managing to see what sunniness is in his life. Of the three, his attitude is, by far, the best and most realistic. They meet a group of racial bigots,
essentially a Klan-like group, claiming to be veterans. What follows is the most famous scene in the movie as the pals have a huge battle with the bigots; even Williams gets in his licks. Later, while their wounds are being tended in a hospital, Madison finally gets closer to Nelson and Tully.
Mitchum decides that he has to buy that ranch he's always dreamed of in New Mexico (he had lost his mustering-out pay on a trip to Las Vegas and was understandably depressed) and Williams is content to make the best of what life has to offer. Mitchum's portrayal of the cowboy is one of his best.
The trio was united out of RKO's budget-films department, but only Mitchum stepped up in class. Williams made several B movies, married actress Barbara Hale ("Della Street" on TV's "Perry Mason"), and they are the parents of William Katt, who starred in a couple of movies and one TV series.
Williams' real name is Herman Katt. Madison, born Robert Moseley, starred in the TV series "Wild Bill Hickok" and then went to Europe where he made several movies. This picture did better than anyone thought it might and was surely helped by the success of the theme song. Based on Chopin's
"Polonaise In A Flat Major," it was a huge recording hit for Perry Como and publicized the movie.
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