Hello, my pals and gals, and happy 2013!
First things first, I'm sure y'all noticed the radical change on my blog's layout. I decided to start fresh the new year, with a whole new theme. All the cute little flapper graphics I used are property of Kate Gabrielle, this amazing talented artist I found lately. Her stuff is beautiful and the good news is she prints them out on all kinds of things and then sells them at her Etsy shop. Do check it out!
Now onto the first post of the year, a movie review: So Proudly We Hail!
This review does contain spoilers. My bad.
This movie stars Claudette Colbert, Paulette Goddard and Veronica Lake as three female nurses on the front line of battle in World War Two. They, along with about ten other women, go through the hardships of war together and manage to find love even in the midst of death.
The movie was directed by Mark Sandrich, and it was released in 1943. I watched it recommended by a friend who is a fan of Veronica Lake's work, and talked about her great performance in this film. I looked for pictures or screenshots and my favorite one was this. Because of this photo, I obviously expected a much different movie than I got, but in the end, I was happy with the surprise. The plot can be divided in three parts, one for each main character:
Part 1: Janet
Janet was played by Claudette Colbert, and she was the chief of the girls' unity. She was in charge of not only keeping the nurses in line and making sure the work is done smoothly, but also of keeping up the general morale and not letting the atmosphere, despite everything, get too gloomy. She was very good at her job and she performed it with a professional distance, never getting too involved emotionally. That is, until she met John Summers, played by George Reeves, a wounded Lieutenant, sent to her unity. They instantly fall in love and face all sorts of obstacles to be together. Her love for John begins a series of events that will ultimately reveal a more emotional side of Janet, and her relationship to the other girls will also be further explored. Colbert's performance is, naturally, very good.
Part 2: Joan
Joan is a young army nurse who is a part of Janet's unit. She's always smiling and keeping up the morale and she specializes in caring for wounded children. During the movie, she meets Kansas, an equally goofy soldier played by Sonny Tufts and they become good friends. As the war carries on and the losses increase, they associate to try to keep their spirits up and help each other through the hardships. They develop a sweet romance, almost childlike, but the underlying friendship is clearly what keeps them together. My favorite scene is when their site is bombed and they have to move, but Kansas insists on being a hero and remaining there. Joan okays his decision, but not before she can kiss him goodbye. She asks him to close his eyes, but instead of a kiss, she knocks him out with a rock to the head. She then places him on a boat and rows away from the bombed area, thus saving his life. The chemistry between the two actors was so good that they even starred in a second picture together, "I Love A Soldier", which I have yet to see.
Part 3: Olivia
Olivia is an amazing character, played by Veronica Lake in the best performance of her career. She is a troubled military nurse, that joins the team after surviving the attack on Pearl Harbor. She presents herself as a grumpy young woman, not interested in making any friends, but the girls are quick to find out that she has a scar in her past: Her fiancée was killed while fighting the Japanese troops. She begins to warm up to the rest of the girls, and just over halfway through the movie, sacrifices herself to save the rest of the unit. The scene took me completely by surprise, I was still under the impression it would be a feel-good movie, but after Olivia's suicide, I realized it was a serious and an emotional flick. She takes off her helmet before she walks to her death, revealing her peek-a-boo hairstyle - it represented her womanhood and how she was doing this as a human being and not as a soldier.
I absolutely recommend it to anyone who has a strong heart. It is a heavy movie, with many scenes that take place amid war, but it sends a beautiful message and it's a marvelous document of that fascinating era. 4.5/5.