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This is one depressing movie. So many of the lead characters are unpleasant, it really is difficult to know where to start. Let me begin with the most unpleasant character of all. John Ericson. He began as a Mama's Boy, joined the Army and became a misfit and coward, married and was a lousy husband, and finally walked out on his responsibilities as a father. Throughout the movie he whines, cries, and bitches about his lot in life. One has to wonder, even with the demands of war, how he ever got into the service. In his first encounter with the enemy - he is reduced to a quivering blob crying for his buddy and finally ending up in the loony ward with "battle fatigue".
He gets married to Pier Angeli (more later) in Italy just as the war ends. It baffles me how the Army would ever give permission to a guy like him to marry anyone. Once he rotates and his child-bride joins him at home in New York, we begin to discover what a worm he really is.
His mother dominates him and his father is a total wimp. His sister is a totally unlikable snot. The movie keeps flashing forward to his visit with a mental health pro at the VA. I don't know why. There is nothing they could do for him, although the writers would like you to think so. His problem is his mommy, but he attaches himself to anyone he thinks can prop him up. Aggh, it irritates me just to talk about him.
Pier Angeli, on the other hand, makes this movie. Her performance (at 18 yo) is dazzling. She is beautiful, sensitive, and totally sincere. She is clearly in love with Phillip, and wise enough to understand his problem - even if he won't.
It is, as I said, an unpleasant movie. But it was well shot and, I have to admit, a thoughtful movie. All in all, it was worth watching.
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