The Best Years Of Our Lives
The problems of American GIs readjusting to civilian life after WWII, was a theme that needed to be addressed by Hollywood. Sam Goldwyn responded in grand style with the poignant 1946 film,"The Best Years of Our Lives." It focuses on three servicemen of varying ages who return to the same home town. Frederic March is a mature banker who comes home to stalwart wife Myrna Loy and daughter Teresa Wright. Having experienced the horrors of war, he has difficulties resuming his mundane career. Grappling with unemployment, Dana Andrews is also cuckolded by trampy wife Virginia Mayo, and turns to sympathetic Wright for comfort. Actually losing his hands during the war, civilian/actor Harold Russell attempts to re-establish his relationship with his girlfriend, and, due to his disability, with society. Screenwriter Robert Sherwood and Director William Wyler wisely avoided excess sentimentality, so the film manages to be remarkably sincere and moving---even to our jaded eyes. Certainly, the expert acting of a stellar cast contributes greatly to the success of this landmark American classic, which captured seven Oscars including Best Picture.
This month, Warner Brother has released "Best Years..." on a new Blu-ray edition, just in time for the upcoming holidays. Though not the absolute finest, the high-definition picture quality is a definite improvement over the duller, contrasty DVD transfer. It is noticeably sharper, and richer throughout the gray-scale. Ironically, there has never been a featurette produced on the making of this iconic film. However, in addition to the theatrical trailer, the Blu-ray extra features do include brief interview sequences with Virginia Mayo and Teresa Wright, in which the on-screen rivals reminisce about the experience.
"The Best Years of Our Lives" is an absolute staple of any classic Hollywood film collection; and Warners' new Blu-ray offers the best all-around quality to date.
The Best years of Our Lives