In the final days of WW2, in a M.A.S.H. unit in Burma, a severely wounded corporal watches in dismay as fellow soldiers pack-up to return home but a caring nurse and five remaining soldiers bring him solace.
Five children in an apparently ideal American small town find their lives changing as the years pass near the turn of the century in 1900. Parris and Drake, both of whom have lost their parents, are best friends; Parris dreams of becoming a doctor, studying under the father of his sweetheart Cassie, while Drake plans on becoming a local businessman when he receives his full inheritance - juggling girlfriends in the meantime. As they become adults, the revelations of local secrets threaten to ruin their hopes and dreams.Written by
Erich Wolfgang Korngold had written the scores for a number of important movies for Warners, including The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939). Korngold was told he was to write a score for a new picture, 'Kings Row'. According to Brendan Carroll in his biography of Korngold, the composer, thinking this was another royal story, set about writing the celebrated fanfare theme of the picture. Despite the wrong assumption, Korngold decided to keep and develop the theme into what has become a classic score. See more »
When Randy sends Parris a letter in Europe, the return address reads "Kings Row, USA" with no street address or state mentioned. See more »
[referring to Drake]
Funny thing, I sort of like that boy. Bold as brass, but he's the only young man in town beside Parris Mitchell who has grace enough to say 'sir' to his elders.
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Before 'Peyton Place' there was 'Kings Row'...powerful small-town melodrama studded with great performances...
Kings Row is perhaps the granddaddy of all small-town epics--a strong story line, an excellent cast and all of it punctuated by one of Erich Wolfgang Korngold's most melodious background scores. Considering this was done in the early '40s, the subject matter is handled honestly but with the kind of discretion it would never receive by any of today's filmmakers. Instead, you are asked to connect the dotted lines on the subject of incest, insanity, sadism and moral corruption behind closed doors and come up with your own observations. Two outstanding leads are Ann Sheridan (never more heartbreakingly honest and moving as the girl from the wrong side of the tracks) and Ronald Reagan as the carefree man she loves and sticks by when fate deals him a hard blow. Robert Cummings is too weak in the central role of Parris--he was always much more suited to comedy than strong drama. But the rest of the large supporting cast are extremely effective--Nancy Coleman (on the brink of insanity after her doctor father's horrific act), Judith Anderson, Charles Coburn (as the sadistic doctor), Claude Rains and Betty Field. Wonderful black and white photography by James Wong Howe, excellent script by Casey Robinson, meticulous production design by William Cameron Menzies and, of course, that pulsating Korngold score--all create one of the most powerful films of the '40s. Ann Sheridan was never better--and Ronald Reagan is fully up to the requirements of a difficult role.
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