An engrossing, at times shattering, film, Three Came Home is a moving portrait of the horrors of war and, at the same time, of the humanity that exists under even the most difficult circumstances. Nunnally Johnson's excellent screenplay, adapted from the book by Agnes Newton Keith, is just about perfect. Johnson uses his considerable skill to create characters about whose lives we care almost immediately, and to demonstrate that there are always variations in character among individuals on both sides of a conflict. While the title character commands the greatest portion of the viewer's love and respect, Johnson has been careful to provide the character of Colonel Suga with several illuminating moments that make him nearly an equally strong and compelling presence. Jean Negulesco has directed beautifully; there is barely a misstep in tone or pacing through the entire picture, and he has created a film that is at all times vibrant, even when it is horrific. Three is also blessed with the sensational star performance of Claudette Colbert, who is simply riveting and whose stellar presence holds the film together from beginning to end. Almost her equal is Sessue Hayakawa as the Colonel, who finds shadings and nuances that are a wonder to see.
by Craig Butler review