The first Fourth of July after we moved back here from California my son and I road our bikes to Main Street bikes to watch the parade. We had decorated our bikes with some red, white and blue streamers in the wheels and a small flag. The town is we live in is so small that when we showed up we were asked if we wanted to be in the parade.
That afternoon there were some thunderstorms and we were inside for some TV watching. I happened upon “The Best Years of Our Lives,” a film by William Wyler. To say it’s the kind of film that Hollywood doesn’t make anymore is the mother of all understatements.
Made in 1946 the film follows the lives of three American servicemen who are returning from “The War.” They are view heroically by the filmmaker and the other characters in the film. In two shorts scenes where minor characters try to say that the war was wrong or that the country was duped the characters are strongly and quickly rebuked.
To show how much Hollywood has changed in 54 years “The Best Years of Our Lives” was this glorification of the American fighting man won eight Oscars including one special for Harold Russell a veteran who had lost both of his hands n a training accident in the service. I try to watch the movie every year around the Fourth to remind myself how uplifting and inspiring film can be. I also love watching the scene where Dana Andrews chews out the haughty lady and loses his job at the drugstore.
If you have never seen the film make it part of your independence weekend.