By Professor Charles Affron, Mirella Jona Affron
Best Years is a wide ranging examine, shining gentle in this serious juncture in American historyand the background of yank cinemaùthe finish of worldwide battle II (1945) and a yr of extraordinary good fortune in Hollywood's "Golden Age" (1946). This special time, the final yr of warfare and the 1st complete yr of peace, presents a wealthy mixture of cinema genres and typesùfrom the battlefront to the house entrance, the peace movie to the woman's movie, mental drama, and the period's provocative new variety, movie noir.
Best Years specializes in movies that have been well-known, notorious, forgotten, and unforgettable. substantial funds A-films, highway exhibits, and commonly used sequence percentage the highlight. From Bergman and furnish in Notorious to Abbott and Costello in Lost in a Harem, Charles Affron and Mirella Jona Affron research why the bond among monitor and viewer used to be might be by no means tighter. Paying specific awareness to the movie-going public in key cities--Atlanta, long island, Boston, Honolulu, and Chicago--this bold paintings takes us on a cinematic trip to recapture a mystical time.
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Extra info for Best Years: Going to the Movies, 1945-1946
Hollywood’s optimistic reading was disputed by the far grittier story the newspapers tracked from Pearl Harbor on. 32 Experts agreed: “Ought Jane and John to marry, under the circumstances? . 34 It was not until The Best Years of Our Lives that the screen caught up with the somber reality faced by so many miserable American couples. Thanks largely to the direction of Vincente Minnelli and the performance of Judy Garland, MGM’s top musical star in her widely publicized first nonsinging role, The Clock tells best Hollywood’s rosy version of the furlough marriage.
But while Hollywood factored the furlough into its romantic equation without hesitation, studios were largely reluctant to echo the worry about war marriages that preoccupied the country. In movie terms the furlough marriage was not a problem of the times, as were, say, alcoholism, adultery, and juvenile delinquency. Even where the sudden tying of the knot by two near Best Years ■ 32 strangers appears to have been a mistake—in Marriage Is a Private Affair, for ex- ample—marital problems are viewed as personal, not societal, and are inevitably resolved by the couple itself.
But for one movie of the period the delivery of the dreaded news is at the core of the narrative. In The Human Comedy (1943) Mickey Rooney plays a telegraph messenger boy whose duties include carrying casualty notices to the door of the afflicted home; at the film’s end he has the wrenching task of informing his own mother (Fay Bainter) that her Over Here son, his brother (Van Johnson), is dead. An American Romance, Winged Victory, Since 41 ■ You Went Away, To Each His Own, Tomorrow Is Forever, The Sullivans, Practically Yours, and, of course, Tender Comrade include scenes in which civilians learn that their loved ones have given their lives for their country.
Best Years: Going to the Movies, 1945-1946 by Professor Charles Affron, Mirella Jona Affron