Thursday, January 13, 2005

Classic WW2 'coming home' movies.

On late night (or early morning, I guess) Turner Classics Movies, I watched two terrific post-WW2 movies about the difficult, unforgiving transition of combat veterans back to civilian life, where the war they left often made more sense than the civilian world to which they returned. The war had taken away from them the best years of their youth with little material reward while Life moved on. As two characters described in a soda shop conversation in Till the End of Time, in the military the troops were a team with a shared purpose, even in the face of death and disfigurement under the most awful circumstances in a mission they barely understood. But back in civilian life, they were 'rugged individualists' again, forced to face hard questions about their sacrifice, the unrelenting need to move on as civilians, and coping with the lasting effects of the war. The only people they could fully trust were their buddies from the war, above even their own family members who simply could not understand the transformative war experience, and in many cases, did not want to understand.

A general comment on Golden Age of Hollywood movies. Yes, the special effects were less visceral, and yes, they usually slapped on a happy, perhaps unrealistic ending, but their stories could be very thought-provoking and well-crafted, only rarely matched in today's movies. Superior acting, superior camerawork, superior writing. Just high quality stuff.

Turner Classics Movies links to Best Years of Our Lives (1946) and Till the End of Time (1946). Excellent movies, a must-watch for combat veterans. I went to bed before the 0530 hours (military time, in honor of the subject matter) showing of Pride of the Marines (1945).

- Eric



Blogger Tom Carter said...

Eric, I agree about the old movies. A lot of good movies are made these days, too, but sometimes the technology overshadows the art.

1/18/2005 6:57 PM  

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