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Pride of the Marines

(1945 b 120')

En: 7 Ed: 7

Based on a true story, a marine falls in love and is blinded fighting the Japanese at Guadalcanal, but he has difficulty adjusting to his changed life.

Al Schmid (John Garfield) is boarding with Jim Merchant (John Ridgely), Ella Mae Merchant (Ann Doran), and their daughter Loretta (Ann Todd). Al Schmid wants to stay a bachelor. He meets Ruth Hartley (Eleanor Parker) and while bowling gets angry at her. He gives her a ride and hits the car of her date. Al takes Ruth hunting in the snow. He tells her why he likes her and kisses her. They hear a radio report that Pearl Harbor was bombed. On New Year's Eve they celebrate, and Al says he joined the Marines. He tells Ruth to have fun. She meets him at the train, and he asks her to wait for him and gives her a ring.

At Guadalcanal the Marines advance on their bellies and get a machine gun ready. At night they hear the Japanese shouting. The Japanese advance, and they shoot at them. The gunner is shot in the head, and Al takes over. Lee Diamond (Dane Clark) is wounded, and Al shoots alone. Al is wounded by a grenade and says he can't see.

Ruth gets a letter from Al in a hospital that was written by nurse Virginia Pfeiffer (Rosemary DeCamp). Al hopes an operation will restore his vision and does not have Virginia write Ruth about his eyes. A doctor removes his bandages, but Al is blind. He throws away a Braille card. Lee tells Al that doctors can make mistakes. Al has a dream that Ruth sees that he is blind. Al has Virginia write to Ruth that he is not coming back to her. Al is fed in the store-room. Virginia says that Ruth is calling long distance, but Al does not take it. Virginia tells Ruth that Al may always be blind. Ruth says she still wants to marry him, and Virginia tells her to write but not come there.

Lee gets his cast off. Bill is going home to his wife but is worried he won't get a job. Some men hope that the G. I. Bill will help. Lee says that he will make things work. Virginia suggests how Al can adjust, but he hopes to see again. Captain Burroughs (Moroni Olsen) tells Lee and Al that they are getting the Navy Cross and orders Al to go to Philadelphia over his objections. Al asks Virginia to wire Ruth to meet him at the station and says goodbye.

Ruth prays. On a train Lee talks, and Al drinks beer. Al does not want to meet Ruth, and Lee says he has no guts. Al sends a wire. When Al gets off the train, Lee talks with Ruth, who asks him to say there is a Navy car. Al says goodbye to Lee. Ruth drives Al home. He realizes it is Ruth, and he refuses to stay; but Loretta and Ella Mae welcome him. Al sits down. Jim comes in and says that Al's room is ready; but Al says he is going to Chicago to stay with his brother. Jim and Ruth say that Al could get a job. Al tells Ruth to take him to the hospital, but she insists on talking. Al tries to call a cab and knocks down the Christmas tree. Ruth says she needs Al and that he is not an ordinary guy. Al is awarded the Navy Cross for heroism. In the final scene Al goes home with Ruth.

This drama reflects the many challenges facing veterans adjusting to their losses from the war after they return to civil society. The support from doctors, nurses, and friends is a stark contrast to the insane cruelty of murderous warfare.

Copyright © 2005 by Sanderson Beck

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