Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Sometimes dismissed as a derivation of Samuel Goldwyn's The Best Years of Our Lives, RKO Radio's superb Till the End of Time was actually based on Niven Busch's novel They Dream of Home, and was completed and released several months before the Goldwyn film. The story concentrates on three ex-marines: Cliff Harper (Guy Madison), Bill Tabeshaw (Robert Mitchum) and Perry Kincheloe (Bill Williams). Harper falls in love with emotionally distraught war widow Pat Ruscomb (Dorothy McGuire); Tabeshaw endures one disappointment after another as he tries to buy his own ranch; and Kincheloe, rendered legless by the war, intends to spend the rest of his life wallowing in self-pity. All three men find a new lease on life when they engage in a cathartic barroom brawl against a bigoted group of self-styled patriots led by hate-spouting Ray Teal (forever typecast as rabid racists during the postwar years). It was this climactic scene, which remains the most memorable aspect of Till the End of Time (outside of its Chopin-inspired theme song) that caused a lot of headaches for producer Dore Schary, screenwriter Allen Rivkin and director Edward Dmytryk during the House Unamerican Activities hearings a few years later: what was accepted as pro-American in 1946 would soon be labelled "Pinko" by the anti-Red zealots.
war, civilian, homecoming, romance, veteran [military]