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William WylerThe Life and Films of Hollywood's Most Celebrated Director$
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Gabriel Miller

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780813142098

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813142098.001.0001

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The Way Home

The Way Home

The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

(p.239) 11 The Way Home
William Wyler

Gabriel Miller

University Press of Kentucky

This chapter includes an extensive production history of Wyler's best film (and second Oscar winner), The Best Years of Our Lives. Topics covered include Samuel Goldwyn's hiring Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist Mackinlay Kantor to write the original story — he delivered a novel in blank verse, Glory for Me, which Goldwyn detested — and how credited screenwriter Robert Sherwood altered Kantor's story to fashion the film that Wyler ultimately made. The casting history is also covered, especially Wyler's decision to cast non-actor Harold Russell, who had lost both hands to an explosion while on military maneuvers; Russell won two Oscars for his performance. There is also a detailed discussion of Wyler's skillful use of mise-en-scène to reveal his themes.

Keywords:   The Best Years of Our Lives, MacKinlay Kantor, Glory for Me, Samuel Goldwyn, Robert Sherwood, Harold Russell

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