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Better than the reviews imply--finely tuned and sensitive
Until They Sail (1957)
In some ways this is a terrific movie about women at home as their soldier men fought in World War II. The setting is New Zealand, and the women are four sisters there. The men are mostly American soldiers, seen not as invaders but still as aliens who are not quite welcome, The filming in wide screen (Cinemascope, really wide) black and white is fabulous. And the acting, including key roles by Paul Newman and Jean Simmons, is great.
The movie is patient, which is not quite the same as slow, though I think a lot of people will find there are too many pauses and lulls. Instead it feels immersive and dramatic. But what gets in the way a little is more elusivepertinence. The problem it portrays is over a decade old, so it has lost the really hammerhead wham it would have had in 1946. Yes, the heartstrings are pulled no matter whatit's an eternal and cinematic problem, love and lossbut it's now a separated kind of drama on its own terms.
Oddly, the way it was filmed, with old school gorgeousness in black and white, might have kept it in a nostalgic zone as well. Lucky for us, this is what makes it have a classic feel. It sneaks up on you. It avoids hyperbole. It's really fine!
And it sheds important light on another aspect of WWII that fits in nicely with the battle films and the other films on the home front, like "The Best Years of our Lives" and other melodramas. There isn't a stick of actual fighting here, if you want that kind of movie. Instead it's an interwoven tale of women trying to survive lost husbands in the war, and finding love, or not, in the mixed up world of war time New Zealand.
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