Sunday, November 12, 2017


THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES came out when I was four. I saw it at our local movie theater with my older sisters, who were forced to drag me along with them on Sunday afternoons after we had "the big dinner" and my father took his weekly nap and us three youngest were sent to the flickers.

I have seen it many many times since, and though I don't make many lists since the brain operation ended that lifelong compulsion, this movie was always one of my top ten and in recent years' viewings I've decided it's my favorite movie of all.

Watching it each year, on its annual screening on TCM around Veterans Day, despite some dated bits in some scenes, this story of three World War Two veterans returning home after the war has only grown more relevant and prescient and fulfilling.

The female leads especially impress. Mryna Loy's performance should be the template for anyone ever wanting to act in a movie. She can play poignancy, romance, wisdom, comedy, and more with only the turn of a shoulder, or pause in a step, or slight upturn of an eye. For me Loy is the quintessence of screen acting skill.

And Theresa Wright, from my home town but graduated and gone before I was born, is always a delight to watch on screen, her emotional range vast as well. Virginia Mayo, playing the bad girl, as she often did, gives maybe her best performance too. And the male leads keep up with them and anchor the story with their postwar inner demons.

I could go on, but suffice it to say THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES is a classic Hollywood masterpiece that still lives up to its original worthiness.


JenW said...

That's funny how you say your sisters were forced to take you along. Made me think of the times I was forced to take my younger sister along. The poor kid was nearly killed a few times keeping up with the older kids. At least your sisters looked after you...I think the younger siblings are the most resilient! Great movie Michael. Glad your sisters sparked your love of movies at such a young age. I am grateful.

richard lopez said...

i watched this flick on TCM too on Veterans Day. i utterly agree about Myrna Loy, a great actor. she can turn the page of a book with such deep emotion that it looks easy to do but nearly impossible to duplicate. she is a wonderful artist in a great movie.