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The Best Years of Our Lives

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movieman1957
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Re: The Best Years of Our Lives

Postby movieman1957 » July 20th, 2010, 3:36 pm

It does. Keeps some gentler moments in it. I like the way the insecurity plays after that moment. Underlying it all is, I think, the sexual tension (or maybe nerves is the more appropriate word) of their reunion. They are not young lovers anymore so, maybe surprisingly, he is the one worried about it.

Maybe it is me but I find the Harold Russell storyline the most fascinating. I wonder if more than a few men had issues like Andrews? I do like the way they keep crossing paths in the film. Where else could such varied lives cross and have such a deep connection?
Chris

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charliechaplinfan
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Re: The Best Years of Our Lives

Postby charliechaplinfan » July 20th, 2010, 4:06 pm

I think the scene the next morning has moments of comedy in it, like Al looking at his portrait and seeing how he'd changed. He's nervous about his reunion with his wife, he loves her so much and he's been through so much, he's come home, his kids have grown, his wife still looks fabulous and he doesn't look as good as he did, his hair is receeding, his face is lined. Perhaps when I asked my question before about why Al would have been fighting for his country at his age(March would have been close to 50 at this point) maybe they chose an older actor to show the effects the war had on Al. Perhaps Al was in his early 40's rather than nearly 50.

The way Millie hovers with his breakfast tray, and how she's fret about him coming home and her hair isn't done and she's nothing in. One of the high points of the film is breakfast being pushed aside and the married couple reuniting.

I like the article about Harold Russell, I'd thought at first, isn't he doing a convincing job with those calipers and then it dawned on me, he was as disabled as Homer. I hope his portrayal helped other disabled servicemen and helped the public understand their plight.

Nancy, I was right on that rollercoaster, swallowing the tears so my hubby wouldn't think I was a ninny. In a way I wished I'd seen this when I was young, it's a film that deserves to be watched every couple of years.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

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knitwit45
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Re: The Best Years of Our Lives

Postby knitwit45 » July 20th, 2010, 4:09 pm

when you were YOUNG????? Alison, what in heaven's name is the cutoff date??? You ARE young!!!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:

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JackFavell
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Re: The Best Years of Our Lives

Postby JackFavell » July 20th, 2010, 5:02 pm

I was moved to tears by these posts.

I watch TBYOOL EVERY time it is on, whether I mean to or not... it is just so good, it sucks me in. I always see new things in this movie.

Each time I watch a different character - this last time was Al. March has some priceless bits of business (usually with his drinks), but his story seems more complex than the other two to me, I can't get an easy grip on Al's situation.

I think Al left for the war a real go-getter, moving up in the business, no thoughts about what was right or wrong in the lending practices of his bank.... poised to be bank president. Perhaps a bit...shallow, but a good man. I think he had parties with his like minded associates, felt pretty good about himself and what he had done in the world to get such a cushy job. In fact, everything WAS the job. Now he comes back, and sees that the corporate world is not the ONLY world...he has become broader minded... and yet, his associates and bosses have remained in the same place.... he doesn't really LIKE Mr. Milton, or anyone else at the bank....what have they given up for their country? They've never needed anything in their lives.... What do they know about what people, real people need? AL has seen need, he has needed...Al has seen death....and he doesn't want to waste time with more of it - he wants his job to mean something or else the war meant nothing at all.

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pvitari
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Re: The Best Years of Our Lives

Postby pvitari » July 20th, 2010, 7:05 pm

My feeling is that Al felt it was his duty to sign up, despite his "advanced" age (in quotes because it's advanced for military service). March himself would have turned 45 years old in 1942 (remember, America didn't get into the war until the very end of 1941) -- not an impossible age even back then when people aged more rapidly.

He's not the only one. Among movie stars, Charles Farrell enlisted in the Navy when he was 41, was commissioned as an officer and eventually was assigned to duty as an administrative officer on a battleship in the Pacific. Richard Barthelmess was commissioned at age 47 as a Navy officer -- and had the pleasure of swearing in his son, who also was commissioned a Navy officer.

The scene that I keep thinking about is the one when Fred goes to the airplane graveyard, climbs up in the plane's ... nose? (can't remember if it was the front or back of the plane) and stares out the window while he re-experiences the war in his head. I'm sure many combat veterans experience something like that. I also love the scene where Fred's father looks over his citations.

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Re: The Best Years of Our Lives

Postby JackFavell » July 20th, 2010, 9:19 pm

What I like is that in this movie, these men share a bond with one another other that no family or parents or kids or even a wife can fill. I have heard this time and time again from veterans, that the men they went to war with understood them to the very core. And yet, it is never overtly mentioned or played up in the film. Dana and Fredric do look at Harold and his hooks at the beginning of the film, but they empathize and understand how to relate to him as no one else seems to.

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Re: The Best Years of Our Lives

Postby mrsl » July 20th, 2010, 9:33 pm

.
This movie is in my top 5 list of all time favorites and I have written loads about it in many different threads both on TCM and here.

Jack Favell: Many kudos on your review and consideration of Al and his home and work return. He has learned that all is not black and white and believes the bank should trust their instincts about certain loans (ha-ha), but it is true.

I also agree that March and Andrews are not up there with my favorite actors, but you can't take anything away from them for these two roles. Several times I wanted to scratch Virginia Mayo's eyes out for her action and treatment of Fred. Wake up and smell the roses lady, and grow up. But I also loved the mutually obvious respect and caring between Fred and his stepmother Hortense.

But again my happy little fantasy movie world comes into play while I watch because, when these guys return, they are treated as returning heroes should be treated, unlike our 'Nam vets and some of the current guys and their families.
.
Not getting into that, promise!!!
Anne


***********************************************************************
* * * * * * * * What is past is prologue. * * * * * * * *

]***********************************************************************

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charliechaplinfan
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Re: The Best Years of Our Lives

Postby charliechaplinfan » July 21st, 2010, 8:31 am

knitwit45 wrote:when you were YOUNG????? Alison, what in heaven's name is the cutoff date??? You ARE young!!!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:


Yes, I am young. I meant to say when I was a teenager, I wonder what I'd have made of it then, I'm sure I'd have been drawn to Fred and Peggy, as they are younger. Now I'm a little maturer I find all three stories equally poignant, I feel protective towards all three men, although I feel Al needs it the least because he has an established marriage and career. The young guys, for different reasons they both pull at the heartstrings.

Al has more comedy moments, he's a man with a strong moral code. I'm sure he volunteered, given his age I don't think he would have been conscripted, he fought with the infantry, he was in the fighting. Friendship aside, when he feels his daughter is getting into a relationship with Fred, he's firm with him, even though we guess he likes him but right is right and his daughter becoming a homewrecker is not right. We don't see how Peggy's parents react to Fred and Peggy getting together after his wife has deserted him. I think Mille will be very sensible and practical about it and if Al has any objection I'm sure she would iron it out.

I agree with you Jack about Al's career at the bank, I work in a bank, what I don't know about lending money and how decisions are made and how they've probably always been made. I think Al does respect his boss, he just doesn't agree with his methods yet can see that he is willing to bend the rules a little to accomodate some of Al's special cases.

One feels with Fred that he is a truly good and loyal man who will go far with the love and support of a woman like Peggy. His stepmother and father are so loving. I loved the way his father read his citations, he was so very proud and it's so very moving.

Homer, God bless Wilma for loving him, I feel the same about him, he can face any adversary with the love of Wilma and his folks. God bless Harold Russell for that inspiring performance, I hope he had his own Wilma.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

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Re: The Best Years of Our Lives

Postby knitwit45 » July 21st, 2010, 9:04 am

Alison,it's great to "see" this movie through fresh eyes. So many things that I have recognized and absorbed are being brought back up from my memory files. I've always felt Al and Millie are bedrock, the ones who would make it no matter what life brought to them. Thinking about it, I feel all 3 couples would make it. Homer and Wilma know what they are walking into, the challenges and discrimination they will face. Fred and Peggy, at least Peggy, are a little more naive about married life. Fred doesn't have a strong base the way Peggy does, but he's seen a side of life that not too many have. Peggy knows how a great marriage looks and feels, thanks to her parents, but she's quite a bit less seasoned than the others.

You just can't help but step into their lives, can you? To me, that's what makes this film such a deep joy to watch.

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Re: The Best Years of Our Lives

Postby charliechaplinfan » July 21st, 2010, 9:29 am

I completely agree with you. A while ago I watched I'll Be Seeing You and whilst this is a very good movie, it's not a patch on TBYOOL despite Claudette Colbert and Jennifer Jones.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

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Re: The Best Years of Our Lives

Postby charliechaplinfan » July 21st, 2010, 4:35 pm

Gosh, I wanted to watch it again tonight but I knew hubby wouldn't be pleased with the same film twice in the same week. I feel like I need to revisit these people's lives. It's the strangest feeling.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

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Re: The Best Years of Our Lives

Postby knitwit45 » July 21st, 2010, 6:01 pm

Alison, did you mean Since You Went Away with Claudette Colbert and Jennifer Jones? It, for me, is right up there with TBYOOL. Both examine the lives of those who fought the war at home. It wasn't anything like what your families experienced, but it was a time of great courage nonetheless.

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Re: The Best Years of Our Lives

Postby charliechaplinfan » July 22nd, 2010, 11:46 am

Nancy, of course I meant Since You Went Away, can't imagine what made me type I'll Be Seeing You.

There are some very good performances in Since You Went Away, it's structure just isn't quite as good.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

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JackFavell
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Re: The Best Years of Our Lives

Postby JackFavell » July 23rd, 2010, 8:55 am

Here is the film that influenced William Wyler to cast Harold Russell as Homer in The Best Years of Our Lives:

http://www.archive.org/details/DiaryofaSergeant

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charliechaplinfan
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Re: The Best Years of Our Lives

Postby charliechaplinfan » July 23rd, 2010, 1:05 pm

He made a very good decision, Harold's acting is so natural in TBYOOL.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin


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