‘I gave up the best years of my life, and what have you done?’

These are the angry words uttered by Virginia Mayo’s character to her husband Fred returning WWII bombardier Captain in the Air Force played by Dana Andrews, towards the end of the movie, ‘The Best Years of Our Lives’ premier date New York November 21, 1946

Oscar winner Robert E. Sherwood’s screenplay was exceptional. Hitchhiking a ride on an Air Transport Command, three veterans thrown together by the circumstances of ‘Going Home’.  Almost ‘Three on a Match’ except for the double amputee’s superstitions, Fredrick March’s character is returning home to a twenty year marriage and family.

Dana is returning to the wife he met, courted, married after twenty days, Harold Russell the real life veteran in an acting role is returning home to his High School girl next door sweetheart that he told he would marry when he returned but he hadn’t expected to be returning as a double amputee…what girl would want him.

This is a great ‘Memorial Day’ remembrance movie.  First because the people that fight the wars will never forget their buddies that did not make it home.  Second because it shows the turmoil of the families that were left behind, carried on, and weren’t quite sure how to respond to returning loved ones, and thirdly this is a movie that changed the history of movie making. Movie makers had also gone to war, (directors, writers, and actors) their experiences also documented the history of this war and authenticated the aftermath…

This is Myrna Loy’s first appearance on screen since the war started. Not by the studio’s choice but by her choice, (volunteerism in the war effort took up most of her time). She received top billing in the credits; ‘Someone to come home to’…Theresa Wright best supporting actress in ‘Mrs. Miniver’ 1942 played Myrna and Fredrick’s daughter Peggy.

However the men walked away with the Oscar rewards. Best Actor – Fredrick March, Best Supporting Actor – Harold Russell (Double arm amputee between hands/forearm), Best Director  William Wyler, Best Screenplay – Robert E. Sherwood, Film Editing – Daniel Mandell, Music Score of Drama or Comedy- Hugo Friedhofer, Special Award – Harold Russell –The hope and courage award for fellow veterans for appearing in the movie, Irving Thalberg Award – Samuel Goldwyn, and last but not least the ‘Best Picture of the Year’ 1946.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. David says:

    I only just happened to find your blog, and love what I see! Hope to catch more of your posts in the future. Thanks for reviewing the “Best Years of Our Lives” – truly a great film. 🙂

    Take care,

    1. annstj says:

      Thanks David for being one of our followers. As Rochellelynn says; writing about Classic Hollywood Film is a ‘Guilty Pleasure’ and it is always nice to come across a fellow filmclassic follower, because watching and writing about classicfilms has contributed to some of the ‘Best Times of Our Lives’.

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