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HOMECOMING (director: Mervyn LeRoy; screenwriters: story by Sidney Kingsley/Jan Lustig/Paul Osborn; cinematographer: Harold Rosson; editor: John Dunning; cast: Clark Gable (Col. Ulysses Delby Johnson), Lana Turner (Lt. Jane McCall), Anne Baxter (Mrs. Penny Johnson), John Hodiak (Dr. Robert Sunday), Ray Collins (Lt. Col. Avery Silver), Gladys Cooper (Mrs. Kirby), Cameron Mitchell (Sergeant Monkevickz), Art Baker (Williams); Runtime: 113; MPAA Rating:NR; producers: Sidney Franklin/Gottfried Reinhardt; MGM; 1948)
World War II romance between Clark Gable and Lana Turner that tries to lighten up a dreary drama.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

World War II romance between Clark Gable and Lana Turner that tries to lighten up a dreary drama. Mervyn LeRoy (“The FBI Story”/”Gypsy”/“No Time for Sergeants) directs based on the 1944 story byplaywright Sidney Kingsley. It’s written by Jan Lustig and Paul Osborn.

A wounded Col. Ulysses Delby Johnson (Clark Gable), sporting a cane, is on a transport ship returning from the war in Europe and is asked by a journalist (Art Baker) about his war experience. The film goes into flashback, as Ulysses (think Homer!) thinks to himself about his war days.

The self-absorbed arrogant society doctor Ulysses Delby Johnson in 1941 was Chief Surgeon at an American hospital and happily married to Penny (Anne Baxter). He joins the army during the war and is assigned a nurse, the dedicated plain-speaking Lieutenant Jane “Snapshot” McCall (Lana Turner). Her pilot husband was killed in the war and she has a young son. At first, the two are in conflict over his seriousness and her flippancy. Over time they become friends, and eventually lovers.

There’s also a big deal made about Johnson’s refusal to treat poor malaria victims in his hometown, that comes back to haunt him when Sergeant Monkevickz (Cameron Mitchell ), a hometown boy in his unit whom he once treated, dies of a ruptured malaria-infected spleen after Johnson’s misdiagnosed his illness back in Chester Village.

Following the D-Day invasion of Europe, Jane is reassigned. However, she is soon reunited with Ulysses by a chance meeting in Paris. Together they join in a rescue mission of their old 299th division, which is trapped in enemy fire in the Battle of Anzio. When Ulysses returns home after the war he’s depressed by all the deaths and has become a changed man. He tells Penny that he has lost his cockiness after watching Jane die from a gunshot wound in a hospital. Ulysses asks Penny to be patient with him until his emotional wounds have healed, and the couple rejoice that they still have each other.

It couldn’t be more tedious, as it pretends to have serious intentions about discussing the ethics of the medical profession and how war changes people psychologically. But the movie serves only as a vehicle to exploit for commercial purposes the two big-name stars and their onscreen romance (and rumored off-screen one).


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”