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The Human Comedy (1943)

Unrated | | Comedy, Drama, Family | 14 February 1944 (Sweden)
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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Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

Taglines:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's Great Production

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

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print) (copyright length)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"The Screen Guild Theater" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on July 12, 1943 with Mickey Rooney and Frank Morgan reprising their film roles. 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

Version of Summer Playhouse: The Human Comedy (1964) 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
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User Reviews

 
Great, Great Piece Of Americana
5 April 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is a unique drama, one of those unusual dramas where there are no villains, no evil people. Yet, it's not a sweet-and-sugary movie, either. It's simply a "slice of life," as they say, or "Americana." In the case, about life in a small California town during the middle of World War II. It is very true to the book written by William Saroyan.

The story features genuinely nice people who trust one another, respect one another, have manners, read the Bible and say their prayers, do what they are told and apologize if they are nasty....not exactly what you've seen in films in the past half century.

Although the film is a bunch of vignettes featuring a number of characters, Mickey Rooney is the central figure and I wonder if he ever was better. He is outstanding in here. I never realized what a good actor he was until I saw this movie.

Frank Morgan also was memorable in here, and I usually didn't care for the roles he played many times. But here, he's very serious and honest and real.

The "slices of life" include Rooney and his family, school friends, his job as a telegram delivery boy; Morgan and his drinking problem; James Craig and his romance; Van Johnson and his army buddies and Jackie "Butch" Jenkins and his little friends.

Also of note are three young military men making an appearance, actors who became well known by the end of the decade: Robert Mitchum, Barry Nelson and Don DeFore. Donna Reed, Fay Bainter and Marsha Hunt add the female touch and a big dose of wholesome beauty. This has a deep cast, as you can see. There are other recognizable actors in here, too, such as "Alfalfa" (Carl Switzer) of "Our Gang" fame.

This picture of "Americana" is so innocent compared to today, it is almost shocking. A kiss was a big deal; nobody locked their doors at night; the girls went out on blind dates with the soldiers and all treated each other with respect.

It's a very sentimental film, which is another reason I like it. It's a sad comment about film critics who think that "sentimental" is a dirty word, but even those cynics still had praise for this film. It's so well done that it's hard not to praise it. See for yourself.


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