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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Hail The Conquering Hero (1944)

A young man (Eddie Bracken) from a small town is the son of a deceased WWI war hero. During WWII, he enlists in the Marines but is discharged for chronic hay fever. Ashamed to tell his mother (Georgia Caine), he writes her that he is going overseas. When a group of Marines on leave hear about this, they drag him home telling the town he is a war hero. The town goes crazy but the deception is killing him. Written and directed by Preston Sturges, this is essentially a one joke comedy that almost begins to wear thin but the Oscar nominated script is first rate and Sturges' stock company of supporting actors all bring their "A" game. The precision dialog comes so fast that you almost become dizzy trying to keep up with it. The movie plays both sides of the fence. It's a satire on hero worship, patriotism and mother worship and Sturges aims his darts at all of them while still embracing them by the time the film reaches its conclusion. With the lovely Ella Raines, William Demarest, Franklin Pangborn, Bill Edwards, Esther Howard and boxing champion Freddie Steele, very sweet as a mother fixated marine. 

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