I Want You (1951)

Genres - Drama, War  |   Sub-Genres - War Drama  |   Run Time - 66 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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I Want You is frequently compared to the far superior The Best Years of Our Lives, not least because producer Samuel Goldwyn willingly courted such comparisons, but it's perhaps unfair to foist such comparisons upon the later film. Best Years is about the reorientation of homecoming soldiers and their families after a war that was popularly supported on the homefront; Want deals with breaking up families at the start of a war that does not enjoy the same level of support, and so the two films should more properly be contrasted than compared. Still, even taken on its own terms instead of in comparison with the other film, Want is lacking. It's not a bad film by any means, merely adequate. An exceptional screenplay or keen direction would have made Want something special; instead, what we have on both counts is acceptable, but no more. As a result, there's none of the depth (or sweep) that would make Want stand out. The issues raised are important, but they're handled in a fairly flat, predictable manner, with dialogue that gets the job done but doesn't raise the proceedings to a new level. Want does boast some very good performances, with Dana Andrews the rock upon which much of the film rests and with a lively and determined performance from Dorothy McGuire to back him up. Farley granger and Peggy Dow disappoint, but Robert Keith is very good as the World War I veteran who has not been totally honest about his military career, and Mildred Dunnock is simply smashing as his wife.