Newest Reviews
You've Been Trumped Too
Woman in Black, The
Elvis: That's the Way It Is
Man Who Laughs, The
Watch List
Kat and the Band
Perfect 10
Red Penguins
China Syndrome, The
Round-Up, The
Around the Sun
Once There Was Brasilia
Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street
She Demons
Good Girls, The
Hail, Hero!
Faces in the Crowd
Traitor, The
Third Generation, The
Saxon Charm, The
Spy Intervention
Killer with a Thousand Eyes, The
Vigil, The
Liberation of L.B. Jones, The
Wizard of Baghdad, The
Good Manners
Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo
Sweet Home
Big Score, The
Newest Articles
What Use is Grief to a Horse? Equus on Blu-ray
For God's Sake Strap Yourselves Down: Flash Gordon on 4K UHD Collector's Edition
Party Hard: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights in with ABC 2 - Your Faces are All Blurred!
Eve Knew Her Apples: The Lady Eve on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Tempo - Gallery One
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 1 - Welcome Once Again to Manchester!
Transformative Apocalypses: Phase IV and Southland Tales
The Happiest Days of Their Lives: The Guinea Pig on Blu-ray
Faced Poe: Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi on Blu-ray
Hard Luck, Buster: The Cameraman on Blu-ray
At the Hop: Mr. Vampire on Blu-ray
Divine Madness: Female Trouble on Blu-ray
Country Matters: Further Out of Town on Blu-ray
Bat-Damn: Was Joel Schumacher's Batman Really That Bad?
The Beat Goes On: Takeshi Kitano Collection on Blu-ray
Dream Treats: Scorsese Shorts on Blu-ray
It's Only Money: Laughter in Paradise on Blu-ray
A Regular Terpsichore: Dance, Girl, Dance on Blu-ray
Teenage Trauma: Baby Love on Blu-ray
The Happening: Pet Shop Boys It Couldn't Happen Here on Blu-ray
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
  Sullivans, The Fighting Family
Year: 1944
Director: Lloyd Bacon
Stars: Anne Baxter, Thomas Mitchell, Selena Royle, Edward Ryan, Trudy Marshall, John Campbell, James Cardwell, John Alvin, George Offerman Jr, Roy Roberts, Ward Bond, Johnny Calkins, Billy Cummings, Martin Davis, Bobby Driscoll, Buddy Swan
Genre: War, BiopicBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: The five Sullivans were Irish-American brothers who were born in a small Iowa town and grew up during the Great Depression. Their father Thomas (Thomas Mitchell) worked on the railroads that went through the place, and though his sons - and daughter Genevieve - would frustrate him often, he did love them and his demeanour could best be described as benevolent tolerance. His wife Alleta (Selena Royle) made sure the home was on an even keel as long as Thomas kept at least a small amount of money coming in, and though the boys would often get into fights, with themselves and other kids, they were all goodhearted, really. But what did the future hold for them?

If you were an American in the Second World War years, you would be well aware of what happened to the Sullivan brothers, and that was the main draw for them which made this picture a very big hit in 1944 - once the title had been altered to The Fighting Sullivans, that was, to emphasise the war bravery. Yes, they went to war, and what befell them was a big influence on Steven Spielberg when he created Saving Private Ryan which shared a plot point so major that you are loath to explain it, for modern audiences would not be so aware. That said, almost every review or mention of the real-life Sullivans in the media would also mention their war experiences, and since they are responsible for an important item of legislation, this movie was a neat history lesson.

What it was not, was great filmmaking, its main boost coming from its hard-hitting ending which was both sobering and made you ponder now, so many years after the fact, how naïve both the siblings were and the military top brass were for not thinking their predicament through, and thus sparing Thomas and Alleta and the others a lot of heartache. That conclusion packs a punch even when you take into account how hokey the rest of it was, a confection dreamt up by Hollywood screenwriters to have their subject presented as adorable but tough, something for the hicks who were snapped up on recruitment drives to feel sentimental and inspired about. There was a degree of the patronising about the representation of this working-class clan that was hard to get away from, even as they were lauded.

Before we had our selling point for wartime audiences, the film was split into two, the first, seeing the boys growing up and played by little kids, including one-time child star phenomenon Bobby Driscoll whose own story was about as depressing as the person he played - without being inspiring. These constantly yammering and yelling younglings (every one uncredited) were a test on the nerves of anyone but the most indulgent of viewers, and their supposedly amusing antics took up half the movie, culminating in a stand-off between them and their father after they wreck part of their house (!). Once that's dispensed with, we see them grown in 1939 and one romances Anne Baxter only to have his relationship sabotaged by his brothers in an act of horrendously judged pranking, though it all works out, but makes you dislike them (or four of them, anyway) more than ever. Fortunately for their reputation, real life intervened in the form of the war, but real life could be desperately unforgiving. You had to be there, but be thankful you were not. Music by Cyril J. Mockridge.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 309 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Paul Smith
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg


Last Updated: