Till the End of Time (23-Jul-1946)|
Director: Edward Dmytryk
Writer: Allen Rivkin
From novel: They Dream of Home by Niven Busch
Musical Score by: Leigh Harline
Producer: Dore Schary
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Review by Hal Pritzker (posted on 16-Mar-2005)
To compare a mini-gem such as Till the End of Time with the hugely promoted, star-studded Best Years of Our Lives -- the film that, historically, often is regarded as the screen icon for the re-adjusting soldiers' genre -- is like comparing Ray Robinson or Roberto Duran with Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis or Rocky Marciano.
The same way that Robinson and Duran were, pound-for-pound, on the same level with their larger, heavier, stronger counterparts, Till the End of Time -- "pound-for-pound" -- is right with its larger, more celebrated celluloid counterpart.
While Best Years, with its flashiness of celebrated cast (i.e. Fredrick March, Claudette Colbert), is much more expansive, Time expertly utilizes a small-scale, more focused look at the returning-soldier theme.
As the proverbial slice-of-life, Time not only is much easier palatable for viewers, it also is quite accurate in the depiction of its conceptions and characterizations.
The primary characters created by Guy Madison, Robert Mitchem and Bill Williams---as the returning World War II veterans -- and Dorothy McGuire, as the mildly cynical war widow with whom Madison's Cliff Harper becomes infatuated, are outstanding portrayals. Yes, Madison's sensitive performance in his first key role was effective, regardless of the less-than-sterling reviews traditionally given by critics.
Fetching, twenty-year old Jean Porter, as the adorably saucy bobby-soxer who likewise is infatuated with Harper, also is quite effective.
Excellent character performances are given by: Tom Tully and Ruth Nelson, as Harper's parents; Selena Royale, as the mother of Williams' Perry Kincheloe; and Bill Gargan, as the veterans' representative.
Director Edward Dmytryk expertly orchestrates the film, which captures the unique flavor of its time frame as if it were bottling a rare wine.
Though "Best Years" deserves much of its traditional praise, do not overlook "Time" simply because its focus is smaller. "Pound-for-pound" it is at least as good. Possibly even better.
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