In a typical American Midwestern city, Hartfield, Iowa, Lew Marsh (Don Ameche) is the owner of a drugstore. Everyone knows Lew and knew his grandfather, old "Gramp" Marsh (Harry Carey), who...
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In a typical American Midwestern city, Hartfield, Iowa, Lew Marsh (Don Ameche) is the owner of a drugstore. Everyone knows Lew and knew his grandfather, old "Gramp" Marsh (Harry Carey), who had passed on. One evening, Lew and his wife, Agnes (Frances Dee), reminisce lovingly about their son, "Rusty" (Richard Crane), when a telegram arrive from the Navy Department informing them that "Rusty" had been killed in action. Lew becomes bitter, avoids people, refuses to go near the family drugstore. "Gramp" appears before Lew and takes him in hand and together, they revisit the past: Lew's childhood; "Gramp" as a Civil War veteran; Lew's courtship of Agnes; the birth of "Rusty"; Lew as a WW! soldier; Rusty's boyhood days and into his attempt to decide between Lenore Prentiss and Gretchen Barry, and how Lenore becomes his bride just before he joins the Navy. This excursion into the past takes away Lew's bitterness and he now sees what America means. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Lew Marsh gets a visit from the Ghost of Christmas Past...I mean, his father.
When Randy Marsh is killed in action during WWII, his father, Lew (Don Ameche), takes it very hard. He is depressed and wonders if the loss was worth it. Fortunately, God takes pity on him and sends Lew's dead father (Harry Carey) back to help him through the death. Magically, dead dad transforms Lew back in time and they view Lew's life as well as Randy as he grows to manhood. It's all very nostalgic as well as highly reminiscent of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol"--and that is a fundamental weakness of the film. It IS derivative and it also puts forth a strange message that the boy's death wasn't so bad after all. Clearly the film was intended as propaganda in order to try to get the public to accept the necessity of their sons' deaths fighting the Axis powers. Fortunately, following this weird ghostly meeting, the film works very well when one of Randy's pals (Harry Morgan) arrives to visit with the Marsh family. Overall, while I wasn't thrilled by the style of the film (i.e., the ghost story element), the film worked very well because of the great acting and the lovely way the film was directed. Worth seeing even if by today's standards it's a bit old fashioned.
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