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A shell-shocked veteran tries to recover his sanity while living with his sister.
San Pedro gas station owner Lou Hopke and his wife Betty, who have just moved into their first home, must decide whether to take in Betty's brother Burt, a former marine who has been confined to a veteran's hospital for some time. Although Burt appears normal, when it rains, he has violent flashbacks to a battle in the South Pacific. After a psychiatrist tells Lou and Betty that Burt will soon be well enough to be released and needs a loving environment, Lou feels an obligation toward Burt, who saved his life during the war, but Betty worries about their two young children, Nina and Chris. Some time later, Lou goes alone to visit Burt and sees a panic attack firsthand when it begins to rain. At home that night, Lou tells Betty about what happened and guiltily admits that Burt's presence would not be good for the children. At a hospital dance a few weeks later, Burt talks with Stella Murphy, a young woman who has fallen in love with him. Stella urges Burt to take the three-day pass for which he is eligible, but he has not seen Lou and Betty for weeks and has no place to go. She convinces him to come and stay with her and her father, and on the last night of his leave, they arrive unexpectedly at Lou and Betty's house. Lou is genuinely glad to see Burt and welcomes him. When Betty sees Burt tenderly kiss the sleeping Nina and Chris, she is touched, but after Burt leaves, she argues with Lou, who says that he can no longer live with his guilty conscience, and insists that they bring Burt home. Although still apprehensive, Betty finally agrees. In July, on Burt's first morning home, Betty is extremely nervous around Burt, but relaxes after seeing his gentleness with the children. During a trip to the beach with Stella, Burt talks about buying and renovating an old boat with money he has saved. Stella offers him words of encouragement but urges him to forget about working in Lou's gas station. She suggests, instead, that he help work her grandfather's farm in Oregon, but Burt fears living in an area with heavy rains. That night, Burt and Stella bring the boat home. Betty dislikes the forthright Stella, but Lou tells Betty to like Stella for Burt's sake. Throughout the summer, the weather is dry and Burt successfully renovates the sail boat. He is close to the children, particularly Chris, who talks of sailing to Alaska with him. When the boat is almost finished, Burt names it after Stella, who asks him to sail with her to Oregon. When Burt tells her that he has sold the boat for a large profit to the son of Mrs. Lehner, their neighbor, and will use the money to become Lou's partner in the gas station, Stella angrily leaves and tells Burt not to call her any more. Upset, Burt then asks Lou about the night he was wounded and wonders why he was affected but Lou was not. Burt, who cannot remember saving Lou's life, then demands to see Lou's scar. The two scuffle, but Burt apologizes and goes to sit in the boat. The next day, Betty is in the market when it begins to storm. When she calls home and no one answers, she rushes to Lou's service station. Although the children are with Mrs. Lehner, Betty is worried about Burt and wants Lou to come home with her. Driving home, they see Mrs. Lehner, who had to do some shopping and innocently left Nina and Chris with Burt. Burt is fine, as it has not rained at home, but is angry that they did not trust him and orders a trailer to take the boat to the water. The boat is successfully launched, and Burt is happy until he finds Chris, who has stowed away inside. Chris is angry that Burt will not take him sailing and warns that he will be sorry if he goes anywhere without him. That night, a worried Betty and Lou call Stella looking for Burt, who left immediately after dropping Chris off. Stella does not think she can help until it starts to rain. When Betty goes into the children's room, she becomes hysterical after Nina reveals that Chris has gone to find Burt. At the dock, Chris finds Burt sleeping on the boat, gets onboard and unhooks the moorings. As the boat drifts away in the pouring rain, it bumps into the dock, causing Chris to fall into the water. Burt awakens when he hears Chris calling him and is at first panic-stricken over the rain, but hearing the child call out "Help me, Burt," just as Lou had during the war, brings him out of his panic and he pulls Chris to safety. When Lou arrives at a dockside diner, he finds Chris and Burt safely inside. Burt then tells Lou what happened and reveals that during the war, while carrying the wounded Lou for thirty miles, the burden was so great that he had secretly wished Lou were dead. Lou then assures Burt that he has nothing to be ashamed of because he was simply being human, just as he had been when he had not wanted Burt in his home. Relieved, both men laugh and arm wrestle. After Betty, Lou and Chris go home, Burt asks Stella if she still wants to go to Oregon and they kiss.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||Los Angeles opening: 23 Jan 1952|
|Release Date:||1952||Production Date:||
|Color/B&W:||Black and White||Distributions Co:||Loew's Inc.|
|Sound:||Mono (Western Electric Sound System)||Production Co:||Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.|
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User Ratings & Review
A very interesting film. Solid performances by James Whitmore, Ralph Meeker, and Nancy Reagan. Very realistic screenplay. All in all, worth a viewing by...
Very Touching Film
A nice ensemble film. James Whitmore and Nancy Davis are parents of two small children afraid to have her mentally ill brother live with them because of...