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Edward G. Robinson,
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Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Eva Marie Saint,
Evie's co-workers at the uniform shirt factory, and her almost-fiancée's inability to kiss, inspire her to slip a letter into a size sixteen-and-a-half shirt for some anonymous soldier. It's received by "Wolf" Larson, who immediately throws it away, but his sensitive, dreaming--and short--buddy John McPherson snags it, and begins a correspondence with Evie, pretending to be Wolf. But things get complicated when Evie wants to meet her tall, handsome soldier. And even more complicated when Wolf sees Evie and likes what he sees. Written by
Crisply paced, expertly directed, and boasting jewel-like performances by Marsha Hunt and Hume Cronyn, A Letter for Evie stands out among the wartime romances of the 1942-45 era.
The plot is self-consciously breezy. A secretary for the Trojan Shirt Company, Evie O'Conner longs for romance. She places a "Dear Soldier" letter in the pocket of an extra-large shirt bound for the army training camps of Texas in the hopes that the soldier who finds it will be a strapping, heroic man. It falls into the hands of a decidedly short and bookish Private Johnnie McPherson. As they say in the business, hijinks ensue in a case of mistaken identity. But that's where the banality ends. In the guise of a light romp, Dassin explores themes of heroism, self-sacrifice, and honesty. In one plot point, Cronyn's comic turn pretending to be drunk to save Evie from the lecherous advances of his handsome army buddy is hilarious and deft.
This movie is difficult to find, but fans of the genre should make the effort.
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