Out of the Past: The Films of Robert Mitchum

The Story of G.I. Joe

William A. WellmanUSA108 minutes1945PGB&WEnglish

Feb 8
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    A relative newcomer to films who had acted mostly in two-bit dusters, Mitchum was an unlikely choice for the complex role of the stoic Lt. Walker in this unusually gritty and immensely moving war story drawn from the WWII dispatches of famed journalist Ernie Pyle, but he emerged from his first leading role a star and won his first and only Oscar nomination to boot. Following Pyle (Burgess Meredith) as he chronicles the bloody progress of Walker's C Company through the battlefields and bombed-out ruins of the Italian campaign, G.I. Joe was named by none other than Dwight D. Eisenhower as "the best war movie ever," while James Agee compared it to the war poems of Walt Whitman and acclaimed it as "a tragic and eternal work of art." Having no experience of war himself, Mitchum listened to the tales of returning soldiers and imbued their terrible reality into his role, which he plays with quiet, taciturn power.

    Restored by the Academy Film Archive with support from The Film Foundation.