Sunday, January 6, 2019

CONSENSUS #89 - Hail the Conquering Hero (1944)

SYNOPSIS: A sad sack's dream of becoming a Marine is foiled by his hay fever. He (Eddie Bracken) vows never to return to home town humiliation until a group of Marine vets (led by William Demarest) take him under their wings. They tell the townspeople that Woodrow is a hero and before he knows it, he is running for mayor.  Oh what a tangled (and humorous) web we weave when first we practice to deceive.

BACK-STORY: Hail the Conquering Hero is a comedy war movie set in home front America in World War II. It was released in 1944 and is a black and white classic directed by Preston Sturges. It is considered by many to be his best movie. He was nominated for the Oscar for Best Screenplay. Fans of Sturges will recognize several familiar faces from his stock company including William Demarest, who made ten movies with Sturges. The movie came out a year after another Sturges home front satire, The Miracle of Morgans Creek (which also starred Demarest and Bracken).

TRIVIA:  Wikipedia, imdb
1.  This was the ninth of ten films William Demarest made with director Preston Sturges.
2.  After a failed preview, the producer recut the movie, but the next preview was bad also.  Sturges was brought back and he rewrote and reshot scenes for the finished product.
3.  Sturges praised the film by saying it was “the one with the least wrong with it”.
4.  Sturges reused the sets from “The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek”.
5.  Sturges was nominated for Best Original Screenplay for both “Hail” and “Miracle”.  “Wilson” won.

Belle and Blade  =  N/A
Brassey’s              =  4.0
Video Hound       =  N/A
War Movies         =  N/A
Military History  =  #70
Channel 4             =  not on list
Film Site                =  yes
101 War Movies  =  no

OPINION:  “Hail” is a typical Sturges satire of small town life.  Since it is set in WWII, it is technically a war movie, although it only marginally comments on the home front.  It does not belong on the list because, while amusing, it is not hilarious.  Especially to a modern audience.  Perplexingly, it made the list but the superior Sturges “Miracle of Morgan’s Creek” did not.

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