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In North Africa during World War II, Sergeant Larry Nevins is blinded by a German sniper's bullet. Rehabilitation at the military hospital presents many challenges, but accepting his disability also proves to be difficult for others. Written by
Jeanne Armintrout <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The airplane disaster that killed romantic lead actor Leslie Howard is mentioned in this film. See more »
The locomotive pulling the train when Joe arrives home in Florida was not produced by American Locomotive Company until 1950, seven years after the actual event. Diesel locomotives were not used on local trains until after the war years. See more »
Bright Victory was one of a trio of films that came out roughly around the same time dealing with rehabilitation of wounded armed service personnel, the other films being The Men and Home From the Brave. This one however dealt with those men blinded in combat.
It was also something of a surprise to the studio that produced it. This is clearly a product of Universal's B picture unit, no marquee names head the cast. But Arthur Kennedy's portrayal of Larry Nevins was so well received that he got an Oscar nomination for Best Actor in 1951 losing to Humphrey Bogart.
Kennedy is a southern kid, wounded in North Africa and left blinded by the war. He along with many others go to a special army rehabilitation unit for the blind. Along the way he meets Peggy Dow and the two of them hit it off. But Kennedy's got a girl waiting for him back home.
The film is about Kennedy's rehabilitation in adjusting to a dark world. He readjusts a few other things as well. Kennedy has the usual southern attitudes about race and rebuffs James Edwards's proffered friendship when he finds out he's black. It's quite a revelation to him to find out that blindness gives the two of them a lot more in common than race had previously divided them.
This is the high point of Arthur Kennedy's career. A fine character actor, this film should have put him into leading man ranks. It didn't however, but Kennedy surely never lacked for work throughout his career.
Peggy Dow had made her debut in Harvey where she scored well as the empathetic nurse and followed that portrayal with a well received one here. She left the screen after this. Too bad, she was a pretty girl with real talent.
Sharp eyes will spot Rock Hudson in a bit part. In another year Rock might have been the lead here and this would have been an A product from Universal. But then Arthur Kennedy would not have gotten his greatest career part.
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