7.1/10
1,580
50 user 15 critic

The Human Comedy (1943)

Teenager Homer Macauley stays at home in small-town Ithaca to support his family while his older brother Marcus prepares to go to war.

Director:

Clarence Brown

Writers:

William Saroyan (from the story by), Howard Estabrook (screen play)
Reviews

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From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mickey Rooney ... Homer Macauley
Frank Morgan ... Willie Grogan
James Craig ... Tom Spangler
Marsha Hunt ... Diana Steed
Fay Bainter ... Mrs. Macauley
Ray Collins ... Mr. Macauley
Van Johnson ... Marcus Macauley
Donna Reed ... Bess Macauley
Jackie 'Butch' Jenkins ... Ulysses Macauley (as Jack Jenkins)
Dorothy Morris ... Mary Arena
John Craven ... Tobey George
Ann Ayars ... Mrs. Sandoval
Mary Nash ... Miss Hicks
Henry O'Neill ... Charles Steed
Katharine Alexander ... Mrs. Steed
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Storyline

Homer Macauley remains in a small town looking after his widowed mother and younger brother while his older brother is fighting the war in Europe. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's Great Production

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Family

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

14 February 1944 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

La comedia humana See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print) (copyright length)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Don Defore and Robert Mitchum were the soldiers with Barry Nelson. See more »

Goofs

Near the end of the film when Homer and his friends walk to the telegraph office Homer's tie is tied up short (the tail below the broad part of the tie) but when Homer enters the office and in the following scenes, the tie is tied correctly. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Mr. Macauley: Ya see Marcus, the ending is only the beginning
See more »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »

Connections

Featured in MGM: When the Lion Roars: The Lion Reigns Supreme (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

The Church in the Wildwood
(1857) (uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by William S. Pitts
Sung a cappella by Mickey Rooney and Frank Morgan
See more »

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User Reviews

A fable from another time.
3 August 2003 | by jbpink101See all my reviews

Way, way back in the 9th grade, in the early 60's, our principal canceled all our afternoon classes and had the entire 9th grade meet in the assembly room (lunchroom without the tables) so he could show us this movie on a 16 mm projector. That's how strongly he felt about this movie. He pointed out, afterwards, that this is a fable, about how life could be if...

After a few decades I bought the video and watched it - not from the viewpoint of comparing it to today's movies, but in the context of what my old principal told us. Just to see if the old impressions held up in light of today's jaded world. It did, and I was surprised at how thoroughly I enjoyed it.

Note that the name of the town is Ithica, that two of the main characters are named Homer and Ulysses, & that the story is introduced from a "heavenly voice from above". All mythological references.

It is showing us how life could be, maybe should be, even with life's tragedies. Not too often, even back then, do you see a family saying their prayers, then discussing them. And, yes, it'd be great if male macho rivalries were settled that easily. And it'd be great if non-relative adults would take the time to help young adults improve (without worrying about ulterior motives). It's all what-ifs, but great what ifs.

Mickey Rooney was never better, and most of the cast was excellent. I highly recommend this movie only if you are aware of what you are really watching. 4/5


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