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Shadow in the Sky (1952)

 -  Drama  -  18 July 1952 (USA)
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 163 users  
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Burt served in the Marines during the war, but now he is confined to an asylum. His experiences in the South Pacific left him mentally ill and deathly afraid of storm clouds and rain. ... See full summary »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Burt
...
Betty Hopke (as Nancy Davis)
...
Lou Hopke
...
Stella Murphy
Gladys Hurlbut ...
Mrs. Lehner
...
The Doctor
Dennis Ross ...
Chris Hopke
Nadine Ashdown ...
Nina Hopke
John Lupton ...
Clayton
Jonathan Cott ...
Doug
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Storyline

Burt served in the Marines during the war, but now he is confined to an asylum. His experiences in the South Pacific left him mentally ill and deathly afraid of storm clouds and rain. Stella, his girl friend, hopes Burt's sister Betty, and his brother-in-law Lou, will take him in so as to help him recuperate. However because of their young children, Betty and Lou are afraid of inviting him to live with them. Can Burt be helped? How can he find a life outside the mental hospital? Written by Thomas McWilliams <tgm@netcom.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

"IN MY ARMS I KNOW HE'LL BE ABLE TO FORGET!" (original print ad - all caps)

Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

18 July 1952 (USA)  »

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(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

 
See they even let me have matches now!
10 November 2005 | by (Brooklyn NY USA) – See all my reviews

**SPOILERS** During the fighting in the Solomon Islands in the Pacific Theater of War Burt,Ralph Meeker,suffered wounds far greater then any Japanese bullet or navel bombardment could ever inflict on him.

Pinned down by Japanese gunfire in the rain-soaked Guadalcancal jungle Brut carried his fellow marine , and future brother-in-law, Lou Hopke, James Whitmore,a half mile to safety thus saving his life. Suffering from a sever case of "jungle Rap" Burt was diagnosed as being unable to blend in with society and sent to a US military hospital for shell-shocked servicemen back in the states. It's now some seven years later and Burt is deemed well enough, by his military doctor Edward Frenz, to be sent home but the only home he knows is that of his friend and brother-in-law Paul Hopke and the problem is will Paul as well as Burt's sister Betty, Nancy Davis, take him in?

Much like Marlon Brando's "The Men" the film "Shadow in the Sky" tells of the horrors of war that stays with those who fought in it for the rest of their lives and how they fight to cope and overcome them. Burt knows what his in-laws and sister think of him and doesn't want to burden them with his presence but it's that very reason, to be accepted and not be feared by them, thats the only cure to his crippling psychosis.

Finally agreeing to have Burt stay the Hopke's fear that he'll flip out whenever it starts to rain, which touches off his "Jungle Rap" paranoia, and may not only hurt himself but them, the Hopke's, and their two young children Chris & Nina, Dennis Ross & Nadine Ashdown, as well.

The movie shows how hard it is to get over experiences suffered in a war zone and Ralph Meeker is at his best as the mentally broken war vet who knows that he'll have to go through a hell almost as bad, if not worse, as being in a war itself to overcome them. The Hopke's grudgingly take Burt into their home, after the insistence of his civilian volunteer nurse Stella Murphy (Jean Hagen),has him doing his best to fit in. The fact that he's, as well as Lou & Betty, terrified of a normal rainy day or night makes things very difficult and sooner or later Burt and the Hopke's know that "The Rains Will come" and with them Burt's worst fears about himself and what he may do to those around him.

Very moving story with a hard edge to it in how a man overcomes his worse fears by not running but confronting them head on which turns out to be the best medicine and treatment that he could have.

Burt's fears of rain, it not only reminds him of Guadalcanal but the blood dripping all over him as he carried the badly injured Lou to safety, was also overcome by telling Lou the truth, about the guilt he felt; about him wanting Lou to die so he would no longer have to carry him.

Lou in return sets Burt straight by telling him he has a sense of guilt too; he didn't want to invite Burt to stay with him and his family, thus having him stay alone and unwanted in the military hospital. It was only because Stella insisted that Lou realized that he couldn't leave Burt alone in the world to die, or never recover from his mental illness, when Burt risked his life to save his own back then in the hell that was called Guadalcanal.


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