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The War Changed Everything - and Everyone.
by Jon Schuller

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So much has been written and shown about the effects of wars on people, where they live, who survived and what they believed in. Unfortunately, the biggest war in human history, World War II, didn't prevent other wars and conflicts from occurring after 1945. The movie industry saw the subjects of its films and their effects change radically in 1941 and the ensuing 4 years. By war's end, movie audiences had seen pictures ranging from wars to comedies to musicals to dramas; Hollywood was slowly showing everyone what the veterans had faced on the battlefields and when they came home. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) brought veterans' issues to the screen, including a real vet who'd lost both his hands in battle. The film's realism got many people thinking about the postwar world. Gentlemen's Agreement (1947) dealt with anti-Semitism, a topic made even more critical because of the Holocaust. But by 1948, we see the movie industry back to where it always was, with a full roster of stars, directors, stories and the vast variety of
films everyone had been accustomed to. True, the discussions about the postwar world were still a touchy topic, but the attempts to honestly depict reality were made.

The list of the 1948 movies is as wide and varied as you can imagine: comedies, fantasies, dramas, crimes, along with cartoons and the film debuts of famous future stars:
Beau Bridges - No Minor Vices
Pat Buttram - The Strawberry Roan
Montgomery Clift - The Search
Doris Day - Romance on the High Seas
Josť Ferrer - Joan of Arc
Laurence Harvey - House of Darkness
Audrey Hepburn - Dutch in Seven Lessons
Rock Hudson - Fighter Squadron
Howard Keel - The Small Voice
Klaus Kinski - Morituri
Christopher Lee - Corridor of Mirrors
Margaret Leighton - Bonnie Prince Charlie
Audie Murphy - Texas, Brooklyn and Heaven
Irene Papas - Fallen Angels
and Debbie Reynolds - June Bride

1948 ushered into the film world different views on old subjects; more realistic ways of dealing with previously unspoken "taboos." Command Decision starred Clark Gable and dramatized how
men are sent into battle and the consequences. Force of Evil, with John Garfield, gives a gritty, realistic look at a crime story, without making the criminals look heroic or glamorous. Key Largo, with an all-star cast starring Humphrey Bogart, shows a war veteran caught up with a gang of criminals and how he must protect his family and relive the violence he saw in the war.

The war scarred so many people and the film industry did its best to make pictures that helped people forget and readjust to peace; with films like April Showers, A Date with Judy, Easter Parade, The Luck of the Irish, Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, The PaleFace, Romance on the High Seas and Up in Central Park.

It was a great year for awards and box-office winners. Olivier's Hamlet was the first British film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture; he wins a Golden Globe for Best Actor. John Huston was Best Director for The Treasure of Sierra Madre, while his father, John Huston won for Best Supporting Actor. Johnny Belinda won 2 Golden Globes
for Jane Wyman as Best Actress and Best Picture. The Top 10 money-makers for 1948 were 1.The Red Shoes $5,000,000
2.The Three Musketeers $4,507,000
3.Red RiverUnited Artists $4,500,000
4.The Treasure of the Sierra Madre $4,307,000
5.When My Baby Smiles at Me $4,200,000
6.Easter Parade $4,100,000
7.(a) Johnny Belinda and (b) The Snake Pit $4,089,000
8.Joan of Arc $4,000,000
9.Adventures of Don Juan $3,700,000 and 10.Homecoming$3,420,000

The movies, the stars and the studios all worked together to entertain everyone as much (or even more) as they did before December 7, 1941. To do their best to help people forget for a while what had been a nightmare at home and overseas. For families who'd lost loved ones or seen someone return, wounded but still alive. Unfortunately, those scenarios are still being played out today, 70 years later, with just as much pain and joy. Movies can and do help us while imparting knowledge and a wider world view.

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Cinema Savant
Every other Thursday

My views on an eclectic mix of films and personalties, past and present; emotional interpretations; some laughs, some cries.

Other Columns
Other columns by Jon Schuller:

How To Capture a Famous Year on Film

40 Is So Young

I Can Feel It. Can You?

Life Seems to Imitate Art

One Is All It Usually Takes Redux

All Columns

Jon Schuller
I am a former New Jersey native, living in Charlotte, N.C. for almost 29 years. I am a lifelong movie lover with lots of movie trivia knowledge and soundtracks in my CD collection. I enjoy sharing my love of films with everyone and have so many fond memories growing up in darkened movie theaters. I have been married 50 years (as of December 22, 2018) and we both share a passion for film (and each other of course).

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Jon Schuller by clicking here.

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