So Proudly We Hail! (1943)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - War Drama  |   Run Time - 126 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

So Proudly We Hail! is a moving, stirring, and powerful World War II film, and unusual (although not unique) in the emphasis it places on the role of women during the war. Because of that focus -- and because of the stars cast in the leading female roles -- Hail features a good deal more romance than most war films, but it does not stint on the action. Indeed, the battle sequences are among the finest put on the screen during the time, with special effects work that is exemplary. More importantly, Hail doesn't glamorize the war; the fighting is painful and the consequences of the war are in plain sight. Occasionally, Hailfalls prey to a little flag waving where some restraint would have produced better drama, and there are occasional slurs from the period (though not as many as in other war films of the period), and So Proudly We Hail! could stand to lose a few minutes here and there. But these flaws in its writing and pacing are very slight; indeed, director Mark Sandrich turns in some of his very finest work here. He draws an exceptional performance from Paulette Goddard, plays to the very considerable strengths of the always winning Claudette Colbert, produces fine work from Veronica Lake, and gives George Reeves a chance to really shine. Even Sonny Tufts comes across as an actor rather than a pretty boy. Throw in some magnificent Charles B. Lang lensing, and the result is a top-drawer picture that packs plenty of punch.