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In 1950, life as usual in a middle-American town. Cold War paranoia is beginning; the young men's biggest concern is the draft board and deferments from the peacetime army. Then the Korean War begins, and the Greer family starts to worry: kid brother Jack, courting the lovely daughter of the draft board chairman, is next on the list. A character study examining American attitudes of that era. Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I agree with the previous reviewer from 2007. Ironic in that I teach a college course on WWII and always end the semester showing the coming home scene of Homer from "Best Years of Our Lives." It has always been so powerful that I can't speak after showing it, and just let my class end on that note, of Homer raising his steel claw hand to wave good bye.
But what of the rest of their lives of that "greatest generation." The day after showing "Best Years," and ending a semester, TCM ran this little gem, "I Want You," and it is almost like a sequel of five years later, about a generation that fought a global war, thought they were coming home to peace and now face remobilization, and also watching their kid brothers getting drafted to go off to a distant unknown front. It is by no means as good as Best Years, but you will see the connection with so many of the same actors, and it almost looks as if it was shot in the same town.
One must definitely remember the context of the time to better understand this film. When made, the bitter quagmire of Korea was still being fought out, hanging over all the specter that it could escalate into yet another global war, this time with nuclear weapons. The tragedy is so evident, recalling how the three vets in Best Years say that all they want is a family and to live in peace. Again, when made, how the conflict would end, if it would ever end, was an unknown.
So definitely see the two films together in sequence. The greatness of the first will lead you into this second, that though no where near as good, is an accurate reflection on the tragic world of our parents and grandparents who after fighting WWII simply wanted to live in peace, and found they never would.
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