In the opening shot of William Wyler’s The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), CAPT Fred Derry walks into an airport terminal in hopes of catching a flight home to Boone City, USA. Upon reaching the clerk at the counter, Fred learns there is a several day wait for a commercial flight, even though he’s a returning war hero. A wealthy middle-aged businessman then charges up next to Fred, interrupts his conversation with the airline clerk, and confirms his seat on the next flight regardless of the extra cost. He barely acknowledges CAPT Derry, no nod or a “thank you for your service.” The air is thick with rotten apathy, and it’s this scene that signals the audience is in for a different kind of war movie. William Wyler, himself a WWII veteran, saw America’s shift in attitude immediately following the war. The wells of patriotism had been tapped dry and those keeping the fires burning on the home front were tired of making sacrifices. Once the servicemen returned home, the warm welcome was short lived. After fighting for years in the Pacific and Europe, these soldiers were expected to resume life as normal almost immediately. Definitely easier said than done. The transition back to civilian life was difficult for many of the soldiers displaced by the war, and Wiliam Wyler wanted to pay tribute to their post-war struggles.
“Sterling Holloway brings a new type of comedy to the screen as different as he himself is in the Hollywood galaxy.”
Poor Casper. All he wants is to be a normal boy, running and playing with all the other kids, but he can’t because he’s dead. It’s rather morbid, if you stop to think about it. Read more
In 1933, British gossip columnist Sheilah Graham arrived in New York to accept a position writing for The New York Mirror and The Evening Journal. After two years establishing herself in the entertainment scene, Graham was offered her very own syndicated column, Hollywood Today, with the North American Newspaper Alliance. Graham moved to Los Angeles so she could insert herself into the Hollywood scene, putting her in with the likes the notorious gossip columnists Louella Parsons and Hedda Hopper.
Thanks to everyone who participated in yesterday’s tribute to Kirk Douglas. Please make sure you check out the great contributions to Doulgas.
We close out our 2013 Summer Under the Stars Blogathon with 24 hours dedicated to Rex Harrison.
Thanks to everyone who participated in yesterday’s tribute to Glenda Farrell. Please make sure to check out all the wonderful contributions dedicated to Farrell.
For the next 24 hours we honor a living legend: Mr. Kirk Douglas.
Thanks to everyone who participated in yesterday’s tribute to Jeanne Crain. Please make sure to check out all the wonderful contributions.
For the next 24 hours, we honor one of the all-time greats: Martin Balsam. He is way more than “the guy who falls backwards down the stairs in Psycho.”