February 14, 2010

Movie Monday

Last week we saw a movie that dealt with the men who fought in WWII. This week we will look at a movie that tells the story of the women who also served.

The opening credits of the movie, made during WWII, tell us that this is a composite story based on records from the Army Nursing Corps, so while a hybrid of stories, all the essentials are true.

If you've ever heard the term, "Stranger than fiction," that definitely applies here.

SPWH is the story of a group of Army nurses. At the beginning of the movie, it's the end of 1941, and their unit has just been assigned a "dream post" - 2 years in Hawaii! What could be better? And the first week of December, they set sail from California for Pearl Harbor.

Of course, we know what happens. Before they even get within sight of the islands, the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor. Their ship is immediately rerouted into a small convoy, and they sail around the Pacific for over a month before finally landing at Bataan.

The rest of the movie tells how they meet, serve and (a couple) fall in love with soldiers. However, these are Army nurses. They are there to do their duty, and love and all other personal concerns come second.

One of the things I love about this movie is the way it shows how it's not just men, not just soldiers who know honor and duty. Think of any WWII war movie - not homefront movies, which I'll also cover soon - but a war movie, and pretty much any WWII movie is about the men fighting. And they deserve to have their story told and be honored for their sacrifices. But so do the women who also served.

Veronica Lake, Paulette Goddard, and Claudette Colbert

I rewatched the movie the other night, and I almost feel like I shouldn't have right now. I've seen it before, but not since becoming an Army wife. It's a marvelous movie. It's straight drama. I had forgotten just how raw parts of the movie got. Not in gore or violence or sex, but in raw human emotion.

Here's a scene from the film, and I'm including it for several reasons. First, because it gives a tiny showcase of the actresses in it and the various characters they portray, and also will clue you in to the heavy dramatic nature of the film. Second, because it's one of the main turning points in the film, and a slight spoiler, but early in the film and so not a big one. And third, because it was the scene that affected me the most. Even watching it again just now when I embedded it, tears came gushing.

So here's a warning: if you don't have some kleenex close by, get some. Or maybe you're tougher than I am, maybe I'm just alone and emotional right now. But this tears my gut out every time. And it's one of the finest moments in cinema I can think of.




It's intense and raw, but classically understated. Lake isn't flailing about, doesn't need profanity, she lets the words and her voice do the work. It's equally painful and beautiful.

And yes, Olivia goes through a powerful transformation by the end of the movie. Her character arc is probably representative of many fiances and wives and mothers at that time, and while unnattractive to our modern sensibilities, is still true-to-life.

It's on youtube (in parts), on blockbuster.com, and so I'll assume Netflix as well. Again, I think it's a marvelous movie, but just prepare yourself. It's a heavy movie, but it's also an important one.

I am changing the URL to my blog soon. I *LOVE* all of you as followers, so I'm not trying to hide from you, I promise! But I need to change the link. So if you would like to be notified of the change and given the new link - PLEASE EMAIL ME:
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7 comments:

  1. I haven't seen this movie but it sounds like one I would really like.
    By the way, I don't think I have left my e-mail address for the url crossover. It is ashley@covenantsoftworks.com.

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  2. The Bonesetter's daughter is based on the life of Amy Tan (the author) grandmother. One of our closest friends is chinese and he grew up in LA but both his parents came from china they were fleeing the cultural revolution. I was discussing the book with him and he said it really captured a lot of aspects of chinese culture that he grew up with. It's really facinating.

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  3. Sounds like a good movie- I need to check it out! For sure keep me posted on your new URL- my email is kelmjohnson@gmail.com

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  4. Oh my gosh! I saw this movie years ago and had totally forgot about it! I think I might have to netflix this! Oh, I'd love to keep reading jmomiller@gmail.com

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  5. we'll have to netfliks it!
    i still want to follow... dignity_depravity@hotmail.com
    i have the feeling i was supposed to do something else besides just give you my addy, but i can't figure it out... Sorry!!

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