The story concentrates on the social re-adjustment of three World War II servicemen, each from a different station of society. Al Stephenson returns to an influential banking position, but finds it hard to reconcile his loyalties to ex-servicemen with new commercial realities. Fred Derry is an ordinary working man who finds it difficult to hold down a job or pick up the threads of his marriage. Having had both hands burnt off during the war, Homer Parrish is unsure that his fiancée's feelings are still those of love and not those of pity. Each of the veterans faces a crisis upon his arrival, and each crisis is a microcosm of the experiences of many American warriors who found an alien world awaiting them when they came marching home. Written by
William Wyler, who served as a major in the Army Air Force during World War II, incorporated his own wartime experiences into the film. Just as Fred Derry did in the movie, Wyler flew in B-17s in combat over Germany, although rather than being a bombardier, as Derry was, Wyler shot footage for documentary films (his hearing was permanently damaged when an anti-aircraft shell exploded near his plane while on a bombing raid). Additionally, he modeled the reunion of Al and Milly, in which they first see each other at opposite ends of a long hallway, on his own homecoming to his wife, Margaret Tallichet. See more »
[Homer has asked Wilma into his bedroom to see what happens as he prepares for bed. After removing his hooks and harness, he 'wiggles' into his pajama top]
I'm lucky. I have my elbows. Some of the boys don't. But I can't button them up.
I'll do that, Homer.
This is when I know I'm helpless. My hands are down there on the bed. I can't put them on again without calling to somebody for help. I can't smoke a cigarette or read a book. If that door should blow shut, I can't open it and get out of this...
[...] See more »
I saw the movie again recently. I always love it. It's touching, has great music, scope and complexity. The film is alive in its human details. But what especially stood out to me this time was how amazing Dana Andrew's performance is. His wife has cheated on him, he's suffering post-war trauma, and can't find a job--but he's still charming and funny. Even though his opinion of himself is pretty low, he keeps going ahead. I love how self-denigrating the character is, how he suspects he's pretty worthless, while his parents, friends and Peggy (but not his wife) see him as extraordinary. And Andrews does it all while being understated and real. Yeah, Dana!
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