Classic Movie Junkie… Memorial Day Week Picks

Dana_Andrews_in_Best_Years_of_Our_Lives_trailer“You know, I had a dream. I dreamt I was home. I’ve had that same dream hundreds of times before. This time, I wanted to find out if it’s really true. Am I really home?”

The Best Years of Our Lives, 1946, RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.

Classic Movie Junkie … is back!

It’s been a busy spring—the April release of IT HAD TO BE YOU, a manuscript for the second book in the series to polish, a writing retreat and more.

The result is, there’s been precious little time for the Classic Movie Junkie in me to get her fix, but with manuscript revisions now behind me and a three-day Memorial Day weekend to contemplate what my next project will be, it seems a great opportunity for the Classic Movie Junkie to scope out some films with a military theme to pay tribute to our veterans.

So here are two classic film picks for the week—one to make you smile and another to make you sniffle (and then cheer)!

Sunday May 25

 256px-Andy_Griffith_19628:00 pm   No Time for Sergeants. (1958)  Comedy. TCM.  A sunny-natured country bumpkin is drafted into the Air Force where he proceeds to drive everyone crazy.  Andy Griffith, Myron McCormick, Nick Adams.

Why?  Great art? Maybe not. But dang fun. Andy Griffith demonstrates the acting and comedic range that would soon transform him into a TV icon. Be prepared, though. He’s not the straight man in this goofy comedy. His performance as hayseed Will Stockton is over the top.  Think Gomer Pyle before there was a Gomer Pyle. (Complete with “Gawl-awl-eee!”) And Forrest Gump before Forrest Gump.

Myron McCormick almost steals the show as Griffith’s long-suffering sergeant and Nick Adams plays off Griffith perfectly in his role as Griffith’s brainier but nervous sidekick. No Time for Sergeants is sweet, clean, broad 1950s humor.

 Monday May 26

10:30 pm   The Best Years of Our Lives. (1946) Drama. TCM. Three service men struggle to re-connect with their civilian lives and the women who love them after they return home from World War II. Myrna Loy, Frederic March, Dana Andrews, Teresa Wright, Virginia Mayo, Harold Russell. Cathy O’Donnell.Fredric_March_in_Best_Years_of_Our_Lives_trailer

Myrna_Loy_in_Best_Years_of_Our_Lives_trailer_closeupWhy?  Well-written, well-acted and beautifully executed, The Best Years of Our Lives took—count ’em–nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

Frederic March and Myrna Loy head an ensemble cast as long-married couple Al and Millie Stephenson. Dana Andrews is superb as returning flyboy Fred Derry. Teresa Wright and Cathy O’Donnell give lovely understated performances, and real-life service-disabled vet Harold Russell remains the only actor to win two Academy Awards for the same performance—Best Supporting Actor and an honorary award for bringing hope and courage to his fellow veterans.

Warning: Settle in and get comfortable for this one. Playing time is 2 hours 51 minutes. And keep a tissue or two  handy.

Trivia Corner

Don Knotts teamed up for the first time with Andy Griffith in No Time for Sergeants. He appears for only moments in a minor role as an anal-retentive “Dexterity Testing Officer,”  but each one of those moments is pure pre-Barney Fife gold. Also keep an eye out for a fleeting appearance by Jamie Farr (of later M.A.S.H. fame).


 Times listed are EDST. Check here for your U.S. time zone Turner Classic Movie monthly schedule.

Have a great week!

Photo credits:

Andy Griffith – By CBS Television (eBay item photo front photo back) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 Dana Andrews, Frederic March, and Myrna Loy – By Trailer screenshot (The Best Years of Our Lives trailer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons