Pride of the Marines (1945)

Genres - Drama, War  |   Sub-Genres - Biopic [feature], War Drama  |   Release Date - Sep 24, 1945 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 119 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Pride of the Marines is a stirring, powerful, hard-hitting World War II drama. Actually, it's probably more accurate to say it's a post-War drama, as the real meat of the picture concerns a wounded soldier's return to civilian life. While Pride is undeniably patriotic, it also is not afraid to ask some serious, hard questions or to present war as less than a grand adventure. It really features only one battle sequence, which lasts some ten minutes; it's an amazing, gripping sequence, but it doesn't glorify battle as many similar films do. The men involved are fighting for their lives, and they react exactly as people really do react in such a situation. Similarly, the discussion about what life will be like when they return home dares to present the possibility that things will not be all roses, a rather bold suggestion for a 1945 film. Finally, the anguish, torment, and bitterness that the lead character experiences is striking and affecting. Pride benefits from a very strong screenplay, but that screenplay is helped by Delmer Daves' excellent direction. He employs some fairly experimental techniques (e.g., shooting a dream sequence in reverse negative) to highlight the emotionalism of the piece, but never goes too far. Pride also benefits from its superb cast, lead by John Garfield in a performance that never hits a false note. It's arguably Garfield's best and most powerful performance and is searing. He is well supported by Eleanor Parker and Dane Clark, who play their parts to near perfection. Pride of the Marines is an especially fine film.