Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Watch us on Youtube Join the Archive Mailing List Read our Blog

A Walk in the Sun (1946);
Home of the Brave (1949)

A Walk in the Sun (1946)
August 12, 2006 - 7:30 pm

Preservation funded by The Film Foundation

A Walk in the Sun (1946)

Directed by Lewis Milestone

Veteran Hollywood pro Lewis Milestone, who launched his career with the watershed World War I drama All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), directed this realistic combat film about an American army platoon's daylong march deep into enemy territory. Adapted by screenwriter Robert Rossen from Harry Brown's acclaimed novel, A Walk in the Sun remains faithful to its literary source—"The book was my script," quipped Milestone—as the narrative focus shifts nimbly between a number of different soldiers within the multi-ethnic unit.

Dana Andrews, Lloyd Bridges and John Ireland head the stellar all-male cast as grunts who storm the beach near Salerno before embarking on a dangerous inland maneuver. Action set pieces alternate with extended scenes eavesdropping on the infantrymen as they hike cross-country towards their uncertain final objective. The tension and brutality of battle are offset by grim humor and a steady stream of colorful banter, with wise guys Richard Conte and George Tyne getting the lion's share of salty dialogue.

Roundly hailed as important on its initial release, A Walk in the Sun earned excellent notices: "a swiftly overpowering piece of work" said the "New York Times," while the "Los Angeles Times" called it "a great war picture ... one of the best to come out of World War II." With its unsentimental tone and chorus of GJ protagonists, the film also proved influential as a template for the genre, inspiring similar configurations in any number of later combat movies up to and including Steven Spielberg's epochal Saving Private Ryan (1998).

–Jesse Zigelstein

Twentieth Century-Fox Producer: Lewis Milestone Screenwriter: Robert Rossen Based on the novel "A Walk in the Sun" by Harry Brown Cinematographer: Russell Harlan Editor: Duncan Mansfield Cast: Dana Andrews, Richard Conte, Sterling Holloway, Norman Lloyd, George Tyne, John Ireland, Lloyd Bridges

35mm, 117 min.

Preserved in cooperation with the British Film Institute from a 35mm nitrate fine grain master positive and a 35mm acetate composite dupe negative. Laboratory services provided by Triage Motion Picture Services, Audio Mechanics, DJ Audio. Special thanks to: Schawn Belston, Twentieth Century Fox.

Preceded by:

Preservation funded by The David and Lucile Packard Foundation

News of the Days, Vol. 15, No. 280: Invasion Extra! (June 16, 1944)

War correspondent Quentin Reynolds narrates a special issue devoted to the first films of the Allied invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944—D-Day.

35mm, 10 min.

Preserved from a 35mm nitrate dupe picture negative and a 35mm nitrate print. Laboratory services by Film Technology Company, Inc. Special thanks: King Features, Ted Troll.

Preservation funded by the American Film Institute/National Endowment for the Arts Film Preservation Grants Program

Home of the Brave (1949)

Directed by Mark Robson

Often cited as the first Hollywood film to examine prejudice against African Americans, Stanley Kramer's combat melodrama Home of the Brave is notable for its hard-edged take on a previously taboo subject. Produced on a low budget and reportedly completed in a then-record 25 days, Kramer shepherded the film under a veil of secrecy in an effort to circumvent outside interference regarding its controversial theme, and in order to scoop other "tolerance" pictures in production, including Elia Kazan's Pinky (1949) and Joseph L. Mankiewicz's No Way Out (1950).

Adapted from Arthur Laurents' award-winning play about anti-Semitism, the film's thematic shift to black-white relations was initiated by Kramer partially due to the fact that studio pictures such as Gentleman's Agreement (1947) and Crossfire (1947) had already successfully explored discrimination against Jewish Americans. According to biographer Donald Spoto, Kramer also felt that the play's reliance on exposition to convey a visceral understanding of racism could be powerfully overcome with a black protagonist.

Distributors apparently feared that. uncensored, the film 's subject matter (and unprecedented use of racial epithets) would inspire riots. However, in wide release, including exhibition in the South, the film enjoyed strong box office without incident. For his adaptation, screenwriter Carl Foreman received the Writers Guild's Robert Meltzer Award for "Screenplay Dealing Most Ably with Problems of the American Scene." The Chicago Defender's original review of the film concurred, stating that "[Home] comes closer to the true story of the Negro-white problem as developed in this country than anything yet made in Hollywood."

–Mark Quigley

Producer: Stanley Kramer Screenwriter: Carl Foreman Based on the play "Home of the Brave" by Arthur Laurents Cinematographer: Robert De Grasse Editor: Harry Gerstad Cast: Douglas Dick, Steve Brodie, Jeff Corey, Lloyd Bridges, Frank Lovejoy

35mm, 86 min.

Preserved from the 35mm nitrate original picture negative and a 35mm nitrate print. Laboratory services by Film Technology Company, Inc.