A hillbilly sharpshooter becomes one of the most celebrated American heroes of WWI when he single-handedly attacks and captures a German position using the same strategy as in turkey shoot. Written by
Keith Loh <email@example.com>
Joan Leslie was 16 when she made this film, the same age as the real Gracie. Alvin C. York had made it clear that he didn't want any actress with any sort of notoriety connected with her portraying his wife. He specifically said, "No Ooomph Girls!", a clear reference to Warner Bros. contract player Ann Sheridan. Incredibly, Jane Russell was considered, but the wholesome Leslie was ultimately chosen. See more »
York is called Sgt by officer who receives his captured soldiers and by the French who give him a medal. In New York at the Waldorf, his uniform coat sleeves show a corporal's insignia. Later, in TN, he is wearing a Sergeant's insignia on his uniform sleeve. See more »
Perhaps when this comes out on DVD later in the year (2006), I'll enjoy this as I did when I first saw it on tape. Subsequent VHS viewings were nowhere as appealing at that first look, unfortunately. As most people know, this is the story of World War I hero Alvin York, who went from drunken good-for-nothing to solid Christian man and war hero.
Gary Cooper certainly was a great choice for the role. Few people in his era were better at playing modest, soft-spoken-but-manly heroes like "Coop." When "York" makes no apology for his 100 percent belief in the Bible, no one challenges him because he's earned the respect from all, believers and non- believers. Cooper's status as an actor helps make that all the more "believable." Sgt. York also gives one of the best examples of forgiveness I've ever seen on film.
Another nice feature of this movie is seeing Joan Leslie in the female lead. She was one of the most pretty and wholesome-looking ladies of her day. She's always a treat to see. Walter Brennan also is interesting, as usual, and in here plays a minister, which also was a surprise.
Much of this film was a surprise because I'm just not used to seeing on film things like true forgiveness, the hero citing Scripture, military officers shown in a compassionate light (letting York, with his pacifistic views, decide what he anted to do) etc. What a shame so few films in the last 50 years have had similar values.
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