Air Force test pilot Pike Yarnell reluctantly attends the memorial service for long-dead Donald Beasley, his navigator during the Korean War; recalling, in flashbacks, their painful days together on a life raft. In Beasley's home town, Pike is repelled at Donald's wealthy mother's enshrinement of her dead son; bemused at his frankly amorous pursuit by Donald's younger sister Pat; and increasingly charmed by his attractive widow Christina. What will the final flashback reveal?Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A Stranger In My Arms tells the story of the Beasley family who are trying in every way possible to honor their son who was died in the Korean War. He was the center of the universe for his overbearing and dominating mother Mary Astor.
Peter Graves is the son and he was the navigator on pilot Jeff Chandler's ship. It was Chandler and Graves alone on a rubber life raft in the Pacific. Now Chandler who is a test pilot is being pressured to got Graves's small town where his family are the local Cartwrights have built a veteran's hospital in his memory.
But they want a whole lot more than that and they want Chandler to help them get it. Flashbacks to life on that raft with Chandler and Graves show why Chandler balks at the idea.
Sad that Ross Hunter did not want to splurge for a little color and more than likely his favorite leading man from Universal Rock Hudson was unavailable. But Chandler does well in the part of the test pilot who while he has his own issues just does not want to knuckle under to unreasonable pressure.
One of those pressures is June Allyson widow of Graves and Chandler heard enough from Graves as to how much he really loved his wife. But she's all American wife June Allyson and probably someone Chandler thinks he needs to complete him.
A cruder pressure is that of bribery. Charles Coburn plays the grandfather and patriarch of the Beasley clan. He's a rather ruthless sort used to getting his way. He really gets Chandler's back up with what he wants.
There's a rebel in the clan and it's young Sandra Dee who wants very much to get out from under even throwing herself at Chandler. But she's still a felony.
Finally there's Mary Astor who is the mother from hell. No wonder Graves went to war. She's the best thing in A Stranger In My Arms.
The film is soap opera, but well cast and well done soap opera. The question is that can true feelings that Chandler and Allyson might start can ever grown in such a stifling atmosphere? Peter Graves really expands his casting range with this. Usually he's an all American good guy, even in Stalag 17 he was although he was using that against type as the German planted informer. Here he's something completely different than what you would expect from him.
Some have disparaged A Stranger In My Arms, but I think there's a lot worthwhile in this film.
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