In the final days of WW2, in a M.A.S.H. unit in Burma, a severely wounded corporal watches in dismay as fellow soldiers pack-up to return home but a caring nurse and five remaining soldiers bring him solace.
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Five children in an apparently ideal American small town find their lives changing as the years pass near the turn of the century in 1900. Parris and Drake, both of whom have lost their parents, are best friends; Parris dreams of becoming a doctor, studying under the father of his sweetheart Cassie, while Drake plans on becoming a local businessman when he receives his full inheritance - juggling girlfriends in the meantime. As they become adults, the revelations of local secrets threaten to ruin their hopes and dreams.Written by
When Randy sends Parris a letter in Europe, the return address reads "Kings Row, USA" with no street address or state mentioned. See more »
[Referring to the dying Madame von Eln]
When she passes, how much passes with her! - a whole way of life, a way of gentleness and honor and dignity. These things are going, Henry, and they may never come back to this world.
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For those who made fun of President Reagan's movie career by always citing "Bedtime for Bonzo" and laughing may be surprised if they take the time to watch "Kings Row." Even "Bedtime for Bonzo" is not as bad as those who have never seen it think it is, because of the ridiculous title. The former sports announcer plays Drake McHugh as well or better than any other Hollywood actor of the period could have. He stands tall among an extremely talented group of actors, including several others who have also been underrated and never received their due by the Hollywood establishment, especially Bob Cummings and Ann Sheridan. There's also Judith Anderson of "Rebecca" fame; Claude Rains who first made a name for himself in a part were he was invisible through most of the film; Charles Coburn, the grand old man of 40's cinema, playing against type in "Kings Row" as not such a grand old man; Maria Ouspenskaya in a non-horror role; and Betty Field shines as the tortured soul, Cassie.
Sam Wood's magnificent direction plus the acting keep the story from slipping into soap opera melodrama. True heart-rending sentiment rather than sappy sentimentality emerges from the social and economic conflicts that mix with human kindness and cruelty in small-town America at the turn of the last century. Though there is an element of nostalgia for a vanishing America, it never becomes petty or commonplace.
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