Robert Mitchum’s extraordinary, Oscar-nominated performance as the stoic, exhausted, and quietly beleaguered Lieutenant Walker in this adaptation of correspondent Ernie Pyle’s dispatches from the war in Europe, made him a star. Director William Wellman, himself a WWI vet, and producer Lester Cowan closely collaborated with Pyle (played by Burgess Meredith, who was doing service in the Air Force at the time) to make a film that was true to the life of the WWII soldier—the absolute exhaustion, the endurance of terror and shock and loss, the spells of boredom, the camaraderie. The result is a film built like a ballad, unlike any other of its era. Print courtesy of the Academy Film Archive.
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