100%

Scanned image of the page. Keyboard directions: use + to zoom in, - to zoom out, arrow keys to pan inside the viewer.

Page Options

Download this Issue

Share

Something wrong?

Something wrong with this page? Report problem.

Rights / Permissions

This collection, digitized in collaboration with the Michigan Daily and the Board for Student Publications, contains materials that are protected by copyright law. Access to these materials is provided for non-profit educational and research purposes. If you use an item from this collection, it is your responsibility to consider the work's copyright status and obtain any required permission.

May 09, 1954 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1954-05-09

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

PAGE FOUR

THE MICHIGAN DAILI

SUNDAY, MAY 9, 2954

PAGE FOUR THE MICHIGAN DAIEX SUNDAY, MAY 9, 1954

Two Faculty Opinions
Of Senator McCarthy
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Prof. Edwin E. Moise of the mathematics department and Prof. J. Louis
York of chemical and metallurgical engineering, two members of the faculty panel which recently
discussed "Has McCarthy's term as a public servant been an asset to the country?" have briefly
indicated for The Daily their views on the controversial Wisconsin Senator.)

Joe Must Go ...
I HOLD IN MY HAND a list of prominent
Americans whom Senator J. R. McCarthy
does not respect. The list begins, of course,
with the name of J. R. McCarhty.
Truly, this man has offered up his self-
respect as a sacrifice on the altar of the
public service. The indignities and hu-
miliations that he has inflicted on himself
are downright heroic.
To awaken the Republic to its perils, he
has claimed to hold documents in his hand,
well knowing that when the smoke had
cleared away, he would be unable to produce
the documents, and thus would be exposed
as a fraud.
To help the public to keep its eye on the
ball, after such an exposure, he has accused
a man of being a Soviet spy, well knowing
that the charge was untenable. A few days
later, he had to explain that the espionage
charge had been over-emphasized, and that
the man in question was really a "policy
risk."
To enlighten his fellow-senatos,he once
pretended to read to them from a letter,
offering to let them inspect the letter when
he was through. One of the senators took
him up on this offer. He wouldn't let the
senator see the letter.
Back in 1950, his fellow-senators pressed
him to read to them the list of Commun-
ists in the State Department which he so
courageously claimed to hold in his hand.
He said that for fear of libel suits from
possibly innocent people, he could not do
this without using his Congressional im-
munity. He added that on the day when
he so used his immunity, he would resign
from the senate. Later, under the cloak
of his immunity, he accused General Mar-
shall of deliberately promoting a conspir-
acy to betray America to Soviet conquest.
He did not thereupon resign from the Sen-
ate, but continued to bear his cross with
the same fortitude as of old.
He has not quailed before all of the unkind
language that has been applied to him by so
many of the leading newspapers and maga-
zines of the country. ("Loud-mouthed .. .
irresponsible . . . wretched burlesque . .
completely without evidence ... hashed-over
charges . . . desperate gambler . . . mad
man ... vituperative smear ... ," and so on.)
All this he has borne with courage and
patience. As a matter of fact, he has not
shrunk from what must have been an even
more apalling prospect-namely, using more
violent language himself, with less reason,
for the enlightenment of those on whom
subtlety might be wasted. To help the pub-
lic to understand the true nature of such
newspapers as the Washington Post and the
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, he has described
them as the camp-following press. Sacrific-
ing at one stroke, his strong sense of delicacy
and his equally strong party loyalty, he re-
cently compared the state of the government
to that of a long-neglected and uncleaned
pigsty.
He realizes that when the safety of the
Republic is at stake, every man counts.
And therefore he has resisted the tempta-
tion to express his revulsion against such
long-standing and firm supporters as Ger.
ald L. K. Smith.
Such are the sacrifices that the senator
has made for his country. He himself has
put the case much better than I can. He
has compared his present condition to that
of a zealous and successful skunk-hunter.
Considered as a description of the atmos-
phere that surrounds the Senator, this can
be accepted as a definitive statement. Assign-
ing the blame is of course another matter.
-Edwin E. Moise

Who Says So?...
"WHAT DO YOU think of McCarthy?"
This question arouses a violent reaction
and rare indeed is the person without a
strong opinion one way or another. In uni-
versity circles, where logic and fact-finding
are lip-worshipped, we find particularly emo-
tional, spluttering invective. But it is direct-
ed mostly against McCarthy, the loudest
criers flattering themselves as being candi-
dates for the list of "defamed innocents."
A few minutes of their slanderous profanity,
gleaned more from Alsop and Pearson than
from reading and hearing the Senator, is a
fine example of "McCarthyism."
Few of us would care to call Senator
McCarthy perfect, but fewer should as-
sume his every word to be a deliberate,
malicious lie. Most men and practically
all politicians speak exaggerations and
untruths in the heat of debate and the
roll of oratory, but most men and all
politicians are jealous of their reputations.
After all, they must answer regularly to
constituents who don't like to be called
jackasses for electing that so-and-so. Do
you know any member of our august
faculty who could keep his temper if every
misstatement and exaggeration in his lec-
ture was pounced upon as a bald-faced,
publicity-seeking lie? He might even
accuse you of McCarthyism!
Discussions of McCarthy would be more
intelligent if his critics would stop using the
very methods they accuse him of using. We
might arrive at a logical evaluation of the
work he has accomplished. We might see
some distortion in the fanciful image of him
as a combined incarnatin of Hitler, Stalin,
and Lucifer. The first rule in discussing the
Senator should be taken from the Bible
(John 8:7): "He that is without sin among
you, let him first cast a stone." Perhaps the
honorable ones would be "convicted by their
own conscience" (verse 9) and would seek
both sides of the question.
Such seekers would find that McCarthy
is largely responsible for an upsurge of
public disapproval of Government employ-
ees who do not act assiduously to further
our defense against Communism internally
and externally. He has reinforced power-
fully the concept that a public employee
must be without suspicion and not merely
one whose treason is unproved. Employ-
ment by the government is a privilege,
not a right. This concept is not new nor
did it originate with McCarthy; it was a
prime tenet of the men who wrote our
Constitution and guided our infant nation.
The Federalist Papers are eloquent on
this point. It is modified only by Civil
Service rules, and they were conceived to
protect men who disagreed in serving un-
der the Constitution-not men who con-
spired to destroy it.
It is impossible in the short space allotted
on this page, where words from the unregi-
mented are so rarely found, to answer the
hundreds of attacks upon McCarthy even if
the Senator needed aid. It would be more
thought-provoking to ask you, dear reader,
why so much publicity is given to him? His
detractors magnify him mightily while class-
ing him as a molehill. If he was half the
liar they claim, he would be the laughing-
stock of the nation; instead he receives hours
of free television time and ranks high in pub-
lic-opinion polls. Apparently the public be-
lieves him in spite of the preponderance of
newspaper space devoted to his defamation.
Regularly the air is rent with screams of
"innocence" which always die down to mum-
bles of evasion and hiding behind an amend-
ment written to protect criminals. The critics
have not produced a single "innocent" who
is defended unequivocally by all fair-minded
persons. The people rightly believe Senator
McCarthy is fighting a big fire to produce
so much smoke-a fire which could easily
burn out our freedom.
-J. Louis York ,

Good Jazz
THIS EVENING, at 8;30, the auditorium
of the Masonic Temple will resound to
the music of Chet Baker's Quartet. Of the
dozen or so jazz concerts presented in Ann
Arbor during the past eight years, this
should be the third good one; the others were
so commercialized that any resemblance to
music of any kind was purely coincidental.
Followers of the new, cool movement in
jazz will recall Baker's outstanding trum-
pet work with Gerry Mulligan, who, along
with Dave Brubeck, is the leading practi-
tioner among the young modernists. Bak-
er's rise in the music world has been
meteoric; he won top honors for his instru-
ment in both the Downbeat and Metro-
nome polls within a year of his first ap-
pearance on records, which is unprece-
dented in the history of either magazine.
Baker has been on his own for only a
short time, and already his records are re-
ceiving warm notices from reviewers. With
Mulligan, his playing was more subdued,
but with his own group, he is shown off to
slightly better advantage. Pacific Jazz, a
relative newcomer to the field, has released
two Chet Baker LPs: "Chet Baker Quartet"
and "Chet Baker Sings." Columbia Records
holds an option on Baker groups, and de-
clined the first two until they could be cer-
tain his records would sell; the company
recently hopped onto the bandwagon and
issued "Chet Baker with Strings." I was
unable to listen to "Chet Baker Sings" in
time for this review, but both the others are
excellent throughout.
Russ Freeman has been with Baker on all
his recording dates since the latter left
Mulligan, and Freeman left Rumsey's Light-
house All Stars to make this tour. In addi-
tion to being a brilliant pianist, he is an in-
ventive composer and arranger. Bassist Car-
son Smith's association with Baker, though
less constant, dates back farthe', to the days
when both recorded with Mulligan. The
drummer, Bob Neel, has been with the group
only since the beginning of the tour, so far
as I know, but, judging by reports, has al-
ready become an integral member of the
unit. These gentlemen, with an added at-
traction, "The Four Robins," should make
this an eminently listenable evening.
It seems to be customary nowadays to
tape such concerts as this, in the hopes
that it will be good enough to market.
This strikes me as very sensible. A re-
sponsive audience can inspire musicians,
as it does actors, to greater heights, and
if the crowd noises don't interfere, the end
result is a musically better and more com-
plete performance than would be possible
in a studio, with or without echo chamber.
Those of you who were present at the
Brubeck concert on these same premises last
month may be interested to learn that the
whole evening was taped in this manner. If
my informant is correct, Columbia (which
has the same arrangement with Brubeck as
with Baker, and for the same reason) will
release two 12-inch LPs, "Dave Brubeck in
Ann Arbor," next month. If you were near
the front of the hall, you may recognize your
own voice in the tumult. If you were too far
back, you may be able to rectify your prev-
ious error by getting to the auditorium early
tonight.
-Siegfried Feller
New Books at Library
Fearing, Kenneth-The Generous Heart;
New York, Harcourt, Brace. 1954.
Loth, David - Gold Brick Cassie; New
York, Gold Medal Bks., 1954.
Masters, John - Bhowani Junction; New
York, Viking, 1954.
THE "COMMON MAN" is the pet abstrac-
tion of the postwar decade, as the "little
man" was of the one before it. They are
both patronizing terms and, we may be
sure, were not invented by the people they
were meant to describe. Joseph Mitchell once

dedicated a book to "the little man, who is
bigger than you whoever you are." I wish
somebody would do the same for the com-
mon man and free him from the inhuman
attributions of a saintly, undemanding
plumber biding his time.
-Alistair Cook in
The Staturday Review

"Programs! Can't tell a Communist from a Congressman without
a Program ..."
Probers' Mentality Viewed
(Continued from Page One)
"Q. What is a fellow-traveller?
"A. Anybody who allies himself with Communists in anything
is a fellow-traveller." (p. 97)
Does this mean that conservative Republicans whose votes on for-
eign affairs agreed consistently with those of Vito Marcantonio-an
ex-Congressman with a pro-Communist reputation-are fellow-travel-
lers? Not likely!
But are people who don't think much of the Un-American Ac-
tivities Committee fellow-travellers? That's another story. For
the Committee says that "... accusations of 'witch-hunting, Red-
baiting, text-book burning and strangling academic freedom'.. .
are all standard smears in the Communist propaganda routine."
(p. 63) Yet large numbers of anti-Communist Americans believe
the Committee to be guilty of just these things.
Whom is the Committee really after: Communists, or Americans
who don't like the Committee? Or is it trying to convince us that
there is no difference between the two? Cerainly its definition of
"fellow-traveller" is less a means of analyzing the Communist dupe
than a way to dispose of people who disagree with the Committee.

WASHINGTON-It seems al-
most unbelievable that one
Senator should be able to haul a
high-ranking General all the way
across the Atlantic and haul oth-
ers up to a closed-door session on
Capitol Hill in order to get a con-
tract negotiated for the benefit
of his own friends. However, that's
exactly what Sen. Pat McCarran
of Nevada did the other day in
regard to U.S. bases in Spain.
He has cajoled and badgered
both U.S. officials and Spanish
officials with the demand that
a group of Germans be allowed
to help build American bases in
Spain. The United States doesn't
want the German contractors.
Furthermore, Spain does want
them. This is a matter solely
concerning the United States
and Spain. However, McCarran
even got theSpanishdMinister
of Public Works, Conde Vallel-
lano, on the Trans-Atlantic
phone to demand that the Ger-
mans get a contract.
Just why McCarran is interested
in the Germans has never been
entirely explained. But anyway,
McCarran happens to be a mem-
ber of the Senate Appropriations
Committee, and quite recently he
summoned a dozen high Adminis-
tration officials behind closed
doors of the Senate Appropriations
Committee.
"I think there has been a drag-
ging of feet," he scolded them re-
garding the proposed contract.
Dissatisfied with the answers of
the State Department officials, he
brazenly described his own nego-
tiations with two of Dictator
Franco's top ministers on behalf
of the Germans. This, incidentally,
has led the State Department to
question whether McCarran vio-
lated the Logan Act, which for-
bids individual citizens from nego-
tiating with foreign governments.
111 1 Mi l

ONE IMPLICATION of all this is clear:
"Q. How can a Communist be identified?
"A. It is easy. Ask him to name ten things wrong with the United
States. Then ask him to name two things wrong with Russia. His
answers will show him up even to a child." (p.15)
Most of us will agree that Communists find it hard to criticize
the Soviet Union. But can you name ten things in the United States
that you would like to see changed? If you can, aren't some-like the
Committee-going to think you "allied with the Communists?"
One practical effect of the Committee's technique is to induce
large numbers of people to abandon thought and action in politics.
Isn't there something decidedly un-American about this?
The Committee says "it is easy" to spot Communists-"even a'
child" can do it. So it recommends a political litmus test worthy only
of children. And heaven help you if the litmus shows the faintest
pink!
* * * *
"Q. WHAT IS A FRONT-ORGANIZATION?
"A. An organization created or captured by the Communists to coE
the Party's work in special fields. The front organization is Com-
munism's greatest weapon in this country . .. among people who would{
never willingly act as Party agents." (p. 40)
It appears that fronts are able to dupe people who oppose Com.
munism into working for it. Undoubtedly this has happened, more fre-
quently in the past than the present.
But the Committee transforms such instances of folly and
fallibility into the general doctrine that Communism is too subtly
contagious a disease for the individual's understanding to recog-
nize and deal with.
Thus, in speaking of Communist-sponsored activities on the cam-
pus:
"Q. Do the students know what they're getting into when they go
to these things?
"A. Hardly ever, They go for the fun and excitement, usually, but
then the loops and the snares go out and catch all too many." (p. 54)
So students are a bunch of simple-minded pleasure hounds-easy
prey for ideological sharpsters! The Committee's paternal solicitude,
however misplaced, isn't touching-it's downright arrogant:
"Q. How can a Communist-front be identified?
"A. If you are ever in doubt, write the House Committee on Un-
American Activities . . ." (p. 16)
"Q. Where can I get information about Communism regularly?
"A. Write the House Committee on Un-American Activities . .."
(p. 21)
The Committee is issuing a Declaration of Dependence-we need
the Committee. "If you are ever in doubt" don't waste time thinking
and inquiring for yourself! Just write the Committee and get the
Official Answer!
The Committee sees students as wandering virgins in danger of
seduction. The protection it offers us is a dose of its own intellectual
pablum.
* * * *
IMAGES OF CONSPIRACY and espionage are shot through the
mentality of the Un-American Activities Committee. That there is
an important conspiratorial element in Communism that went too
long undetected, few will deny. But in this, as in other matters, the
Committee grows a tree of error from a seed of truth.
"Q. How do the Communists try to get control?
"A. CONSPIRACY is the basic method of Communism in coun-
tries it is trying to capture." (p. 6)
"Q. Are Communists in this country a part of this world move-
ment?
"A. Not 'movement.' The right word is 'conspiracy'." (p. 93)
Now, espionage and conspiracy are crimes, and the police are au-
thorized to detect them. The Committee, however, inquires into ideas
and political acts.
And the Committee uses concepts in the field of ideas and
politics that are really appropriate in that of espionage and coun-
terspying. Hence the glamorization of undercover agents, inform.
ants, ex-Communists with neuroses and petty gossips with grudges.
The police are paid to be suspicious. But to import the police
mentality into politics and ideas is to erode the foundation of mutual
trust that supports a free society.
The Committee suffuses a sense of secret dangers throughout our
political life in such a way that we are corroded with fearful suspicion.
This could result in our mass conversion into people whose politics areI
no longer the testing of ideas, but largely the application of the Com-
mittee's juvenile loyalty tests on one another.
* * *

' ,

DAILY
OFFICIAL
BULLETIN

(Continued from Page 2)

D RAMA

THE TWO one-act plays presented last
night by the Inter Arts Union have so
many things in common that one could al-
most compare them point-to-point. Both
are fantasies; the central figures of both
are young girls troubled with illusions and
disillusions; and both these young girls are
more or less in love with statues.
Renee Kluger's "Higher and Higher
Down," although it had its moments,
seemed to me the less successful of the
two. From the time the announced, an
"Our Town" type who kept up a running
commentary on the action, said that he
had been mistaken for both "an Id by the
Freudians, and the Wordsworth's Leech
Gatherer, by an English major," the play
lacked cohesion. There simply seemed to
be too many elements floating around
loose all the time. The play spoofs a good
many subjects: Shakespeare, love poetry,
Joe College, and even, quite conscientious-
ly, itself. But spoofing isn't enough all by
itself; the play lacked many of the solider
dramatic virtues. Ann Albert Young does
a good job of making the wildly ambiva-
lent heroine hold together, and the rest
of the parts were smoothly done.
Gayle Greene's "A Cocktail Quadrille" de-
fined and developed its elements more clear-
ly. It has to do with the fate of a Lewis
Carroll kind of innecence in a world of de-
cayed and decaying sophistication. The calr-
ity of each is so distinct, in fact, that the

BOSTON SYMPHONY, Charles Munch,
Conductor, October 20
CLEVELAND ORCHESTRA, George
Szell, Conductor, November 7
JORGE BOLET, Pianist, November 15
LEONARD WARREN, Metropolitan
Opera Baritone, November 21
VIENNA CHOIR BOYS, January 16
ZINO FRANCESCATTI, Violinist,
March 7'
BERLIN PHILHARMONIC, Kurt Furt-
wangler, Conductor, March 15
NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC, flint-
tri Mitropoulos, Conductor, May 22
Orders for season tickets now being
accepted-at $17.00; $14.00; $12.00; $10.00;
and filed in sequence. Tickets will be
mailed September 15.
9th Annual Extra Series-
ELEANOR STEBER, Metropoliltan Op-
era Soprano, October 10
CONCERTGEBOUW ORCHESTRA OF
AMSTERDAM, Eduard Van Beinum,
Conductor, October 27
SHAW CHORALE, Robert Shaw, Con-
ductor, December 6
ISAAC STERN, Violinist, February 10'
WALTER GIESEKING, Pianist, March
22
Orders for tickets now being accepted
-at $8.50; $7.00; $6.00; $5.00; and filed
in sequence. Tickets will be mailed Sep-
tember 15.
Messiah concerts, December 4 and 5.
Lucine Amara, soprano; Lillian Chook-
asian, contralto; Charles Curtis, tenor;
and Donald Gramm, bass; University+
Choral Union; University Musical So-
ciety Orchestra; Mary McCall Stub-
bins, organist; Lester McCoy, Conduc-
tor. Tickets at SOc and 75c will be on
sale beginning October 15.
15th Annual Chamber Music Festival,
February 18, 19, 20, 1955. Rackham Au-
ditorium. Budapest String Quartet in
all three concerts. Tickets will be on
sale beginning October 15. Season tick-
ets, $2.50 and $3.50; single concerts,
$1.25 and $1.75.
Tickets and information at the offices
of the University Musical Society, Bur-
ton Memorial Tower.
Recital Postponed. The voice recital
by Russell Christopher, baritone, previ-
ously announced for Mon., May 10, has
been postponed until Tues., June 1.
Student Recital. Judith Becker, Pian-
ist, will be heard at 4:15 Sunday after-
noon, May 9, in Auditorium A, Angell
Hall, playing a program in partial ful-
fillment of the requirements for the
Bachelor of Music degree. It will in-
clude compositions by Mozart, Brahms,
and Schubert, and will be open to the
public. Mrs. Becker is a pupil of John
Kollen..
Student Recital. Joan St. Denis Dudd,
Soprano, pupil of Chase Baromeo, will
appear in recital at 8:30 Sunday eve-
ning May 9, in Auditorium A, Angell
Hall. The program will include works
by Falconieri, Rose, Mazzaferrata, Schu-
bert, Brahms, Debussy, Franck, Ravel,
Chausson, and Leonard Bernstein, and
will be open to the public. It is to be
given in partial fulfillment of the re-
quirements for the Bachelor of Music
degree.
Student Recital. Mary Morrell Smith,
contralto, will be heard at 8:30 Tuesday
evening, May 11, in the Rackham Assem-
bly Hall, in a recital given in partial
fulfillment of the requirements for
the degree of Master of Music (Music
Education). She is a pupil of Philip
Duey, and her program will be open to
the general public.

But McCarran didn't seem con-
cerned.
--SECRET CABLE-
He quoted a cable from Ambas-
sador James C. Dunn in Madrid
to the State Department in Wash-
ington, as follows: "Conclusion
here that it would be unwise to
pose specific question even though
feel Spanish Government would
agree to German or other foreign
subcontractors under pressure.
Economic and military staffs con-
cur in above view for following
reasons. Spanish feel that Span-
ish capabilities should be used to
maximum at present time against
European subcontractors."
(Copyright, 1954, by the Bell Syndicate)
, ettep
TO THE EDITOR
Pride and Prejudice ...
To The Editor:
"PRIDE AND PREJUDICE" ...
The theme of a well known
book and, unfortunately, the theme
that seems to prevail in a certain
league house. I am referring to
the incident on April 24 when two
Negro boys were "requested" to
leave a league house while they
were waiting for their dates.
Dean Bacon stated that it was
the girl's place to ask the land-
lord if Negroes were permitted in
the house. Should this question be
necessary? The Liberal Arts cur-
riculum in our colleges today is
designed to teach the students how
to enjoy and understand their lives
and the surrounding world. The
ultimate aim of this, being to abol-
ish our petty prejudices and to be
more tolerant of mankind. How
can this goal be achieved if inci-
dents such as this occur? In Zo-
ology we are taught that there is
no difference physically, except for
skin pigment, between the various
races. In Sociology we learn there
is no difference in the mental atti-
tudes of the Negro and the White.
In History we are constantly re-
minded of why the Civil War was
fought. Yet, as soon as we leave
these classrooms, we forget :our
basic knowledge and allow our
minds to be filled with stupid ster-
eotypes. Our education can not
stop in the classroom. The most
importa'it part of it is still to
come. The part of applying it to
our own lives and the lives of
others. We must not forget this!
A purple heart ... Do you know
many people who were honored
with this medal? One of these
Negro boys was. He was willing to
gamble his life to save ours. Is
this the kind of gratitude we
should give him? I believe a pur-
ple heart would mean much less
to him, then being treated human-
ly like a normal American citizen.
-Mickey Gendell
Fight for Freedom .. .
To The Editor:
DIEN BIEN PHU, Dunkirk, the
Alamo. The moral justifica-
tion of United States intervention
has now been supplied. What are
we waiting for? The dramatically
courageous stand of the French
against the misguided fanatical
nationalists demands that the
United States send its boys to fight
for the free world. And Eisen-
hower putts on the ninth. And
McCarthy gets a headline. And
Charlie Wilson goes to lunch. And
the ground of Indo China is lit-
tered with young American bodies.
-Richard Seid

Sixty-Fourth Year
Edited and. managed by students of
the University of Michigan under the
authority of the Board in Control of
Student Publications.
Editorial Staff
Harry Lunn..........Managing Editor
Eric Vetter.. ............City Editor
Virginia Voss. ........ .Editorial Director
Mike'Wolff........Associate City Editor
Alice B. Silver. Assoc. Editorial Director
Diane D. AuWerter .. .. Associate Editor
Helene Simon ..... .Associate Editor
Ivan Kaye.............Sports Editor
Paul Greenberg... Assoc. Sports Editor
Marilyn Campbell. Women's.Editor
Kathy Zeisler ....Assoc. Women's Editor
Chuck Kelsey ......Chief Photographer
Business Staff
rhomas Treeger ...Business Manager
William Kaufman Advertising Manager
Rarlean Hankin....Assoc. Business Mgr.
William Seiden.........Finance Manager
Anita Sigesmund. Circulation Manager
Telephone NO 23-24-1

1~

CURRENT MQO/IES

I

At the Michigan ...
THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES
A S LONG AS there are wars for men to
fight and come home from, The Best
Years of Our Lives should always be as-
sured of an audience. More successfully
than any other film, it carefully documents
the adjustments veterans must make in their
return to civilian life.
For almost three hours, Best Years makes
an intensive study of the rehabilitation of
three ex-soldiers, who collectively embody
a majority of the possible. problems. There
is Fredric March; he must face his now-
grown children and the prospect of a dull,
life-long job. Dana Andrews is the fellow
who was a soda jerk before the war; inex-
perienced, his medals fail to get him a
decent job. Most important to the picture,
though, is Harold Russell, the armless sailor
trying hard to believe that what his girl

he is just playing himself. Yet so skillfully
does the camera catch his every expression,
so completely does Director William Wyler
capture the true meaning of "life without
hands," that Russell steals every scene from
a cast of seasoned and talented performers.
He is doing something better than emoting:
he is living his role.
Script Writer Robert E. Sherwood has,
on the whole, managed to avoid what
might have become conspicuously maudlin.
He cleverly balances the extremely emo-
tional dramatic material with comedy. It
is chiefly Fredric March who serves as a
foil for Russell's story. The scenes where
he gets drunk and has to be put to bed by
his wife, are delightful. However, Dana
Andrews' love problems tend to be a trifle
overbearing. His meandering between
March's daughter (Teresa Wright with
perpetual tears in the corners of her eyes)
and his trampy wife (Virginia Mayo at
her sexiest) is nothing more than soap

f

Member

I

I

Back to Top

© 2020 Regents of the University of Michigan