This RKO film, which covers much the same territory as THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (1946), was released several months prior to BEST YEARS yet has long stood in the shadow of William Wyler's multi-Oscar winner.
TILL THE END OF TIME, a mature film sensitively directed by Edward Dmytryk, deserves to be much better known. I first saw this film five years ago, and I very much enjoyed returning to it for a second look.
Cliff's mother pointedly mentions the domestic skills of the high schooler next door (Jean Porter, who later married the director), but he's interested in an older, conflicted war widow, Pat (Dorothy McGuire).
Bill (Robert Mitchum) has a steel plate in his head but blithely pretends all is well -- until he starts having headaches. And Perry (Bill Williams), who came home from the war minus his legs, feels his life is over, while his mother (Selena Royle) bravely tries to encourage him. The scene where she asks his friends to visit often is a heartbreaker.
The performances are all uniformly good, and I was particularly struck that Dorothy McGuire wasn't afraid to play a character with an edge. She could also play very sweet types, of course, but here she plays a bit of a "tough girl" who isn't always quite likeable. At the same time, one empathizes with what she's been through -- it's said in the film that there should be Purple Hearts for war widows too -- and when she and Cliff are confronted with a soldier with "the shakes" she handles it in a touching fashion.
The supporting cast includes Harry Von Zell, William Gargan, Johnny Sands, Loren Tindall, and Richard Benedict. Look for Ellen Corby and Blake Edwards in small roles.
Niven Busch called THEY DREAM OF HOME. It was shot in black and white by Harry Wild.
I've been humming the title tune, based on Chopin, ever since the movie ended. I love Perry Como's version of the song.
The Warner Archive DVD is a good-looking print. There are no extras.
I hope more classic film fans will get to know this fine film. Recommended.
Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this DVD. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered at the Warner Archive website.