The Best Years of Our Lives

  • Directors: William Wyler
  • Producers: Samuel Goldwyn
  • Writers: Screenplay, Robert E Sherwood, Story, MacKinlay Kantor
  • Genres: Drama, Romance, War
  • Actors: Fredric March, Myrna Loy, Dana Andrews, Teresa Wright, Virginia Mayo

After World War II, demobilized servicemen Fred Derry (Dana Andrews), Homer Parrish (Harold Russell) and Al Stephenson (Frederic March) meet while hitching a ride home in a bomber to Boone City, a fictional Midwestern city, patterned after Cincinnati, Ohio.[1] Fred was a highly decorated Army Air Forces captain and bombardier with the Eighth Air Force in Europe, who still suffers from nightmares of combat. Homer had been in the Navy, losing both of his hands from burns suffered when his aircraft carrier was sunk. For replacements, he has mechanical hook prostheses. Al served as an infantry sergeant in the 25th Infantry Division, fighting in the Pacific.

Prior to the war, Al had worked as a bank executive and loan officer for the Corn Belt Savings and Loan bank in Boone City. A mature man with a loving family, his patient wife Milly (Myrna Loy), adult daughter Peggy (Teresa Wright) and college freshman son Rob; he nevertheless has trouble readjusting to civilian life, as do his two chance acquaintances.

The bank, anticipating an increase in loans to returning war veterans, promotes Al to Vice President in charge of the small loan department because of his war experience. However, after he approves a chancy loan to a veteran, Al’s boss Mr. Milton (Ray Collins) advises him not to gamble on further loans without collateral. At his welcome-home dinner, a slightly-drunk Al gives a stirring speech, acknowledging that people will think that the bank is gambling with the shareholders’ money if he has his way, “And they’ll be right; we’ll be gambling on the future of this country!” Mr. Milton applauds his sentiments, but Al remarks later, “He’ll back me up wholeheartedly until the next time I help some little guy, then I’ll have to fight it out again.”

A now-divorced Fred meets Peggy at Homer and Wilma’s wedding. After the ceremony, Fred approaches Peggy and holds her, telling her that their life together will be a hard struggle, that they’d be “kicked around.” She is unfazed; they smile and kiss.

Deadly Is the Female

  • Directors: Joseph H Lewis
  • Producers: Frank King, Maurice King
  • Writers: Story, MacKinlay Kantor, Screenplay, Dalton Trumbo, MacKinlay Kantor
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Film-Noir, Romance
  • Actors: Peggy Cummins, John Dall

Bart Tare (John Dall) is an ex-Army man who has a lifelong fixation with guns–they make him feel good inside. The drama opens with Tare, age 14, being grilled by a judge because he had been arrested for breaking and entering and stealing a gun. In flashbacks his friends say that while its true that Tare loves guns, he would never kill anything. They tell the judge the number of times he’s refused to kill animals. Nevertheless the judge sends him to reform school.

The next time we see Tare he’s grown up back in town. He’s also left military service behind. He reunites with his childhood friends and they decide to go to a carnival.

There he meets a kindred spirit in sharpshooter Annie Laurie Starr (Peggy Cummins) and goes to work at the carnival. They are attracted to one another and after upsetting the carnival owner who lusts after Starr, they both get fired. Soon, on Starr’s behest, they embark on a crime spree for cash. Subjects of a manhunt, they are tracked by police in the hills Tare enjoyed as a boy….