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Till the End of Time (1946)

Approved | | Drama, Romance, War | 1946 (UK)
Drama about former WW2 Marines readjusting to civilian life and dealing with their mental and physical traumas.


Edward Dmytryk


Allen Rivkin (screenplay), Niven Busch (novel)

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Complete credited cast:
Dorothy McGuire ... Pat Ruscomb
Guy Madison ... Cliff Harper
Robert Mitchum ... William Tabeshaw
Bill Williams ... Perry Kincheloe
Tom Tully ... C.W. Harper
William Gargan ... Sgt. Gunny Watrous
Jean Porter ... Helen Ingersoll
Johnny Sands ... Tommy
Loren Tindall ... Pinky
Ruth Nelson ... Amy Harper
Selena Royle ... Mrs. Kincheloe
Harry von Zell ... Scuffy (as Harry Von Zell)
Richard Benedict ... The Boy From Idaho


Three former Marines have a hard time readjusting to civilian life. Perry can't deal with the loss of the use of his legs. William is in trouble with bad debts. And Cliff can't decide what he wants to do with his life, although he gets encouragement from war widow Pat Ruscomb. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Here is the "at home" story of your fighting men ... and the loves that spur them on ! See more »


Drama | Romance | War


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

1946 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

They Dream of Home See more »

Filming Locations:

San Diego, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Opening credits: The characters and events depicted in this photoplay are fictional. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. See more »


Pat Ruscomb: What did you want to see me about?
Cliff Harper: I could say it all in a minute.
Pat Ruscomb: Right - I'll time you.
Cliff Harper: You're a tramp.
Pat Ruscomb: That leaves you just 40 seconds.
See more »


Featured in Robert Mitchum, le mauvais garçon d'Hollywood (2018) See more »


(I Got Spurs) Jingle Jangle Jingle
Music by Joseph J. Lilley
Lyrics by Frank Loesser
Sung by Robert Mitchum while walking to Guy Madison's home.
See more »

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User Reviews

A Forgotten Gem
17 June 2011 | by aimless-46See all my reviews

Whereas "The Best Years of Our Lives" (1946) gave a Norman Rockwell picture of returning WWII veterans trying to reintegrate themselves into civilian life, RKO's "Till the End Of Time" (released four months earlier) was more concerned with confronting that subject head-on than idealizing it. Which ultimately makes it a better film if a less popular one with an escape seeking public who already had their fair share of trauma.

Years later the television series "China Beach" would feature an episode (Fever) that was a worthy homage to this film. In that episode Nurse McMurphy comes home to Kansas where: " she goes to work as ward nurse at the local hospital while trying to make peace with her increasingly neurotic mother who does not approve of her fast, stressful lifestyle and bitterly tries to cling onto the past". I was reminded of that episode while watching Cliff Harper (Guy Madison) trying to deal with his mother. Particularly a scene where her mother throws McMurphy's fatigue uniforms away and a panicked McMurphy frantically rushes to the curb to retrieve them from the garbage can.

The point being that both mothers want the family to resume their lives from the point they were at before the war. And while a part of each veteran wants this same thing, another part of them realizes that it is impossible; so they end up marking time for a period until they can get things sorted out internally. Their readjustment process is one of reconciling the desire to have things as they once were with the desire (need) to hang on to the changes or growth they have undergone. Director Edward Dmytryk symbolically dispels the notion that Cliff can ever pick up his life from where he left off, he does this through an early scene where Cliff discovers that his old civilian clothes are far too small for him. Although played for laughs this scene conveys more than just the physical changes to Cliff during the three years he was been a Marine.

"Till the End of Time" nicely illustrates this dynamic with the two new women in Cliff's life. Fresh-faced Helen Ingersoll (Jean Porter - Hollywood's all-time cutest actress) is a perfect fit for the pre-war Cliff; the type of girl he would be pursuing if things could magically go back to the way they were. But the high mileage Pat Ruscomb (Dorothy McGuire) is a far better fit for what Cliff has become. Cliff's attraction dynamic with these two females says in a nutshell everything the film is trying to illustrate. Thankfully Williams and McGuire have an effortless chemistry that helps them sell both their mutual attraction and their reluctance to move forward and let go of cherished parts of the past.

The plot summary is a bit misleading, saying "three" marines have a hard time readjusting to civilian life and giving Robert Mitchum and Bill Williams (soon to be television's Kit Carson) equal billing with Madison and McGuire; as if there are three equally weighted parallel stories (insert "The Best Years of Our Lives" here). The story centers on Cliff Harper, there are only a few brief scenes that do not feature Madison. So fans of "Surfside Six" will get a full dose of their favorite star.

My favorite scene is the one where Porter and Williams "cut a rug" to the sounds of the jukebox in the old soda joint.

The most nostalgic scene was shot at the old Iceland skating palace. It looks like Porter does her own skating while someone doubles for McGuire. Unfortunately they did not go on location for the beach scene, and the projected beach background requires considerable suspension of disbelief.

Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.

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