(Review originally written at 13 October 2008)

This was one solid- as well as an enjoyable war movie, made during WW II but about WW I.

The movie is obviously a patriotic one with its themes, and it got made at the time of WW II to support the American war effort and to boost morals of the soldiers. Actor Gary Cooper considered his part in this movie as his contribution to the war cause. But it's not all too bad. Because the story is such a fine one and it got told so nicely in the movie you sort of tend to forget the movie its patriotic motivations. The movie is simply to good for that!

Luckily the movie isn't a too heavy one to watch. The movie never forgets about its entertainment value and the movie even features some real comical moments and characters in it. It doesn't mean that this entire movie is not one to take too seriously but it helps to make the movie are more light and better watchable movie to view.

Especially the first halve of the movie can be seen as entertainment. You can actually wonder if the movie doesn't concentrate too much on Alvin Cullum York's pre-war life and not enough on the actual WW I moments. The war moments toward the end of the movie progress rapidly and it basically only shows York's heroics, for which he got acclaimed so much. For the movie is based on a real life war hero, for which he even received the congressional medal of honor. The movie perhaps, for its understandable reasons, only mainly show the 'good' sides of war and what it means to be a hero to your family and men. You could say that the movie is a bit a pro-war one and is also the reason why this movie sometimes gets criticized by some.

But well, simple fact is that I enjoyed watching this movie, which was thanks to its real great story. No doubt a lot of it differs from the truth but as long as it's done to make a movie and its story work out better I never have any objections to it. After all, if you truly want fact and history you should watch the Discovery Channel, or read a book.

The movie got professionally and effectively directed by Howard Hawks. He always keep the story interesting and going. He picked the right approach for it and provided the movie with a nice pleasant atmosphere, despite its serious subject.

This is the movie that won Gary Cooper his very first Oscar. He plays a good role that is more consistent with Cooper's earlier more light and comical movie roles. Also the supporting cast within this movie was real fine. Joan Leslie was only 16 at the time of this movie but she already plays a young woman very convincingly. No big surprises, since she had also already worked on many big classic movie production before prior to shooting this movie.

The movie got nominated for a total of 11 Oscars, including best director and best picture of the year but it only won in 2 categories. But that's no great shame when you're nominated in the same year as "Citizen Kane" and "The Maltese Falcon" for instance.

A real great- and fine made movie to watch, even after all those years and despite its flaws.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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