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1949 Home of the Brave was an independently made film by Screen Plays II Corp., distributed by United Artists written by Carl Foreman based on an Arthur Laurent’s play, produced by Stanley Kramer and Music by Dimitri Tiomkin.
It was released on Blu-Ray on May 13th of this year, it was the first time I had ever heard of let alone be able to watch the movie. The acting and messages in this movie blew me away. The movie is told in flashback about: one incident, one island, one American.
Peter Moss (James Edwards) a volunteer surveyor from another battalion returns from a reconnaissance and intelligence detachment mission on an occupied by Japanese island in the pacific with deep paralysis from his hips down and partial amnesia during WWII. With no wounds and no explanation for his paralysis and amnesia it is Jeff Corey’s job as psychiatrist to unravel what went on during the mission so he can help Peter Moss walk again.
Douglas Dick is the 25 year old commands by the book Major Robinson leading the mission. He picks three of his best men to go with him (as long as they volunteer) Sgt. Mingo (Frank Lovejoy) quiet knows his job and does it. Corporal T.J. Everett (Steve Brodie) complainer, wise guy afraid to volunteer, afraid not too, an unabashed bigot (there are a lot of ‘N’ words being bandied about but it was the reality of the times) definitely an equal opportunity annoyer. Finch (Lloyd Bridges) a cautious, friendly cartographer who is also color blind (and I’m not talking about his eyes being physically color blind).
When Moss who has already volunteered for the mission arrives, jaws drop. Moss is colored. When the Major calls the Colonel to inform him of this fact the Colonel irritability asks ‘Really…what color is he?’
Lloyd Bridges jaw drops because he recognizes Moss. Moss is his High School Basketball buddy that he hadn’t seen in years. They are the kind of buddies that have special phrases that they used to call or say to each other in high school: Dope, Nit Wit, Drop Dead, That’s Charming, and Delightful. They pick up as if they were back in High School again. The acting between James Edwards and Lloyd Bridges is excellent. I can’t say enough about it especially James Edwards.
In 1949 there were three main war movies that were either nominated or won in some category or other in the Oscar race: Sands of Iwo Jima, Battleground, and 12 O’clock High.
I’m assuming Home of the Brave was overlooked because of the fact that Jeff Corey and the writer Carl Foreman did not name names during the McCarthy Era and were blacklisted.
All of the racism and bigotry by one character finally is left behind as the end of this story unfolds. It’s one soldier’s trauma at having his buddy wounded, tortured, dying in his arms and being ordered to leave him behind, while feeling guilty about the ‘glad it wasn’t me’ thought that initially popped into his head. Moss cannot leave the dead Finch behind he is beside himself. The mission was to survey, draw maps get off the island report to headquarters so a major battle can be planned. Finch is dead, Sgt. Mingo is wounded in the arm, Moss collapses he cannot walk, and the Japanese are getting closer. The Major grabs the maps and gear; T.J. the bigot picks up and carries Moss to the boat and safety saving his life.
On this Memorial Day we remember those that were left behind and those that came back to us, and those that were and are now today traumatized by the seemingly never-ending devastation of war.

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