Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Best Years of Our Lives

The Best Years of Our Lives

#37 on both the 1998 and 2007 AFI Top 100 American Movies Lists

The Best Years of Our Lives is a 1946 American drama film directed by William Wyler, and starring Fredric March, Myrna Loy, Dana Andrews, Teresa Wright, and Harold Russell. The film is about three United States servicemen trying to piece their lives back together after coming home from World War II. Samuel Goldwyn was inspired to produce a film about veterans after reading an August 7, 1944 article in Time magazine about the difficulties experienced by men returning to civilian life. Goldwyn hired former war correspondent MacKinlay Kantor to write a screenplay. His work was first published as a novella, Glory for Me, which Kantor wrote in blank verse. Robert Sherwood then adapted the novella as a screenplay.

The Best Years of Our Lives won seven Academy Awards in 1946, including Best Picture, Best Director (William Wyler), Best Actor (Frederic March), Best Supporting Actor (Harold Russell), Best Film Editing (Daniel Mandell), Best Adapted Screenplay (Robert Sherwood), and Best Original Score (Hugo Friedhofer). In addition to its critical success, the film quickly became a great commercial success upon release. It became the highest grossing film in both the United States and UK since the release of Gone with the Wind. It remains the sixth most attended film of all time in the UK, with over 20 million tickets sold. The film had one of the highest viewing figures of all time, with ticket sales exceeding $20.4 million

* Myrna Loy as Milly Stephenson
* Fredric March as Technical Sergeant Al Stephenson
* Dana Andrews as Captain Fred Derry
* Teresa Wright as Peggy Stephenson
* Virginia Mayo as Marie Derry
* Cathy O'Donnell as Wilma Cameron
* Hoagy Carmichael as Uncle Butch
* Harold Russell as Petty Officer 2nd Class Homer Parish
* Gladys George as Hortense Derry
* Roman Bohnen as Pat Derry
* Ray Collins as Mr. Milton
* Minna Gombell as Mrs. Parish
* Walter Baldwin as Mr. Parish
* Steve Cochran as Cliff
* Dorothy Adams as Mrs. Cameron
* Don Beddoe as Mr. Cameron
* Charles Halton as Prew
* Ray Teal as Mr. Mollett
* Erskine Sanford as Bullard
* Victor Cutler as Woody

Casting brought together established stars as well as character actors and relative unknowns. Famed drummer Gene Krupa was seen in archival footage, while Tennessee Ernie Ford, later a famous television star, appeared as an uncredited "hillbilly singer" (in the first of his only three film appearances). At the time the film was shot, Ford was unknown as a singer. He worked in San Bernardino as a radio announcer-disc jockey. Blake Edwards, later notable as a film producer and director, appeared fleetingly as an uncredited "Corporal". Actress Judy Wyler was cast in her first role in her father's production.

Additional uncredited cast members include Mary Arden, Al Bridge, Harry Cheshire, Joyce Compton, Heinie Conklin, Clancy Cooper, Claire Du Brey, Tom Dugan, Edward Earle, Billy Engle, Pat Flaherty, Stuart Holmes, John Ince, Teddy Infuhr, Robert Karnes, Joe Palma, Leo Penn, Jack Rice, Suzanne Ridgeway, Ralph Sanford and John Tyrrell

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