When the co-workers of an ambitious clerk trick him into thinking he has won $25,000 in a slogan contest, he begins to use the money to fulfill his dreams. What will happen when the ruse is discovered?
Twenty years after his triumphs as a freshman on the football field, Harold is a mild-mannered clerk who dreams about marrying the girl at the desk down the aisle. But losing his job ... See full summary »
During the Great Depression, a wealthy banker throws away his wife's expensive fur coat; it lands on the head of a stenographer, leading to everyone assuming she is his mistress and has access to his millions.
Temperamental saloon singer Freddie Jones, jealously shoots at her cheating boyfriend Blackie but mistakenly hits Judge Alfalfa J. O'Toole's honorable behind, forcing her to skip town under the guise of a schoolteacher.
Having been discharged from the Marines for a hayfever condition before ever seeing action, Woodrow Lafayette Pershing Truesmith (Eddie Bracken) delays the return to his hometown, feeling that he is a failure. While in a moment of melancholy, he meets up with a group of Marines who befriend him and encourage him to return home to his mother by fabricating a story that he was wounded in battle with honorable discharge. They make him wear a uniform complete with medals and is pushed by his new friends into accepting a Hero's welcome when he gets home where he is to be immortalized by a statue that he doesn't want, has songs written about his heroic battle stories, and ends up unwillingly running for mayor. Despite his best efforts to explain the truth, no one will listen. Written by
J. Adam Ingle
The last of the really great comedies that Preston Sturges directed had a more serious undertone than his previous films. This is not to say that Hail the Conquering Hero isn't hilarious though. It is just as intelligent, fast-paced, subversive and witty as could be expected from the writer/director of The Lady Eve and The Palm Beach Story.
Eddie Bracken plays Woodrow Truesmith, a would-be marine who was discharged from service for chronic hay fever. Woodrow, whose father died a hero during WWI, hasn't had the heart to tell his mother about his discharge and has been pretending to still be on the front line. When he befriends a group of marines on leave, they dress him up as a hero and bring him home to make his mother happy, not anticipating that his whole town will give him a hero's welcome.
Considering that the film was made during the war, it is surprising the way it satirises the notion of the war hero as well as the attitudes of those who did not go away to fight. The awestruck townspeople are depicted as being rather gullible while the marines are shown as a tough, cohesive unit, if maybe a bit dishonest and mercenary (and in one case slightly unhinged). The film has fine production values and great performances across the board but it is Sturges' script, with its marvellous characterisations and sparkling dialogue, that really shines. If you like Preston Sturges' other, earlier comedies, this film is essential viewing.
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