Blu-ray Review: “Home Of The Brave” Is A Commendable Film

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Review by Ann McDonald

A sensitive, educated black man’s World War II-time problems. This is essentially the duplicate of his peace-time problems which are pointed up in a flashback of his life, and primarily of his war-time adventures with four white soldiers on a dangerous reconnaissance mission on a Japanese-held island.

“Home of the Brave” is a 1949 black and white war saga set in the Pacific. The timeline and location is never disclosed but the background to the story and its locale are unimportant as the movie sets out to show us that ‘war is hell’ no matter where it is set and every man takes his own private conflict with him. The movie opens with a team being put together for a reconnaissance of one of the islands in the Pacific which is already occupied by the Japanese army.

Our motley crew assembles when Private Peter Moss (James Edwards), a black soldier from another unit joins them and it doesn’t take long for the racial tension to show its ugly face, even though one of the men is an old friend of Moss, Finch (Lloyd Bridges), a man he used to go to school with. The film uses flashbacks to good effect and apparently Moss comes back from the island crippled and he suffers a nervous breakdown. A psychiatrist (Jeff Corey) is determined to break through the wall that Moss has built up around himself and find out exactly what happened on the island as Finch was killed there in action.

Then the story unfolds through the eyes of Moss. The interplay between the men and the dialogue was impressive and the performances were, for the most part, quietly underplayed. The story was, at times, very simplistic and you have to shake away the years since the film was made (1949) and concentrate because the truths, then as now, don’t change with the years. We are spoiled in this age of technology with all the bells and whistles and this film serves as a reminder that sometimes it’s good exercise to just keep quiet and listen. Recommended.

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Ann McDonald

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