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The Human Comedy (1943)

7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 1,192 users  
Reviews: 44 user | 12 critic

Teenager Homer Macauley stays at home in small-town Ithaca to support his family, while his older brother Marcus prepares to go to war.

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(from the story by), (screen play)
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Title: The Human Comedy (1943)

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
James Craig ...
...
Fay Bainter ...
...
...
...
Jackie 'Butch' Jenkins ...
Ulysses Macauley (as Jack Jenkins)
Dorothy Morris ...
...
Ann Ayars ...
...
Henry O'Neill ...
Katharine Alexander ...
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Storyline

Homer Macauley remains in a small town looking after his widowed mother and younger brother. Homer's older brother is fighting the war in Europe. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Family

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

14 February 1944 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

La comedia humana  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print) (copyright length)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Writer William Saroyan wanted desperately to direct the film despite having no experience in directing. Louis B. Mayer told Saroyan that he would consider the request and assigned the writer to direct a one reel short. The short film was a disappointment and studio stalwart Clarence Brown was promptly assigned. Saroyan was so bitter about the experience he wrote a play about Mayer soon after titled "Get Away Old Man". He also adapted the story he wrote for the film into a novel, which was published within weeks of the movie premiere and became a best seller. See more »

Goofs

Near the end of the film when Homer and his friends walk to the telegraph office Homer's tie is tied up short (the tail below the broad part of the tie) but when Homer enters the office and in the following scenes, the tie is tied correctly. See more »

Quotes

Mr. Macauley: I am Matthew Macauley. I have been dead for two years. So much of me is still living that I know now the end is only the beginning. As I look down on my homeland of Ithaca, California, with its cactus, vineyards and orchards, I see that so much of me is still living there - in the places I've been, in the fields and streets and church and most of all in my home, where my hopes, my dreams, my ambitions still live in the daily life of my loved ones.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Forecast (1945) See more »

Soundtracks

My Old Kentucky Home, Good Night
(1853) (uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Foster
Sung a cappella by Ernest Whitman
Also sung by Mickey Rooney and Jackie 'Butch' Jenkins
See more »

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User Reviews

A fable from another time.
3 August 2003 | by (sacramento, ca) – See all my reviews

Way, way back in the 9th grade, in the early 60's, our principal canceled all our afternoon classes and had the entire 9th grade meet in the assembly room (lunchroom without the tables) so he could show us this movie on a 16 mm projector. That's how strongly he felt about this movie. He pointed out, afterwards, that this is a fable, about how life could be if...

After a few decades I bought the video and watched it - not from the viewpoint of comparing it to today's movies, but in the context of what my old principal told us. Just to see if the old impressions held up in light of today's jaded world. It did, and I was surprised at how thoroughly I enjoyed it.

Note that the name of the town is Ithica, that two of the main characters are named Homer and Ulysses, & that the story is introduced from a "heavenly voice from above". All mythological references.

It is showing us how life could be, maybe should be, even with life's tragedies. Not too often, even back then, do you see a family saying their prayers, then discussing them. And, yes, it'd be great if male macho rivalries were settled that easily. And it'd be great if non-relative adults would take the time to help young adults improve (without worrying about ulterior motives). It's all what-ifs, but great what ifs.

Mickey Rooney was never better, and most of the cast was excellent. I highly recommend this movie only if you are aware of what you are really watching. 4/5


66 of 68 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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