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John M. Stahl
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Tom Rath lives in Connecticut and commutes to work every day in Manhattan. He's happily married and has a loving wife and three children. Money is a bit tight and when the opportunity arises, he applies for a public relations job with a major television network. During his long commute to work everyday, Tom reminisces about the war. Although 10 years have gone by, he is still haunted by the violence and the men he killed. He also thinks of Maria, an Italian girl with whom he had an affair while stationed in Rome. At his new job, the head of the network Ralph Hopkins takes an immediate liking to him. Tom soon realizes that he will have to choose between becoming a wholly dedicated company man or maintaining a healthy work-life balance. When he learns that Maria gave birth to his son after he left Italy, he decides to let his wife know and ensure that the boy is cared for. Written by
In the film, Tom Rath and his paratroopers belong to the 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion, which actually saw combat in Italy during World War II. In reality (unlike the film), the 509th did not get sent to the Pacific Theater to fight the Japanese (or make a combat jump there) after the battalion's tour in Italy was over. See more »
Other reviewers have commented that this film is too long, boring, and some have noted that the director was an unknown and incapable. Nothing could be further from the truth, Nunnally Johnson has written, directed and produced many significant films, including the Oscar winning, Three Faces of Eve.
This film's use of subtlety, colors, light and its development of the characters is so powerful that the film leaves its viewer, even today, with an overwhelming feeling of regret. Regret for wasting life on work, worry and the pursuit of happiness, in lieu of actual happiness.
The purpose of a great film is not to entertain, but to evoke emotions that live inside us, but are rarely accessed. This film is one of the greats, for its uncanny ability to, in a timeless way, draw out the futility of modern capitalist life without being obvious or overpowering. You just feel bad, and that's good.
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