Preston Sturges’s last feature for Paramount (1944) takes on wartime patriotism with a brio and vengeance that may take your breath away. Woodrow Lafayette Pershing Truesmith (Eddie Bracken) gets discharged from the marines due to chronic hay fever, but some service buddies decide to present him to his hometown as if he’s a returning war hero. As usual, Sturges’s stock company of wonderful bit actors—including William Demarest, Franklin Pangborn, Raymond Walburn, and Jimmy Conlin—is orchestrated and conducted like a pop symphony, and Ella Raines does duty as the love interest. A scathing delight.
Hail the Conquering Hero
NR • 1 hour 40 min • 1944