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May 12, 2023

For our MGM 1943 episode, we look at two films that are highly representative of the Mayer ethos, The Human Comedy (directed by Clarence Brown), a portrait of WWII-era American small-town life infused with the beatific sensibility of William Saroyan (who provided the story), with Mickey Rooney in a coming-of-age story that's equal parts Andy Hardy and David Lynch; and the children's classic Lassie Come Home (directed by Fred M. Wilcox), which we compare to Mizoguchi's Sansho the Bailiff as a sold-into-slavery story but find wanting in its social analysis despite its Communist screenwriter. We try to tease the strangeness out of the sentiment—which doesn’t really take much doing. 


Time Codes:

0h 00m 45s:      THE HUMAN COMEDY [Dir. Clarence Brown]

0h 43m 59s:      LASSIE COME HOME [Dir. Fred M. Wilcox]


Studio Film Capsules provided by The MGM Story John Douglas Eames

Additional studio information from: The Hollywood Story by Joel W. Finler



* Marvel at our meticulously ridiculous Complete Viewing Schedule for the 2020s

* Intro Song: “Sunday” by Jean Goldkette Orchestra with the Keller Sisters (courtesy of The Internet Archive)

* Read Elise’s latest film piece on Preston Sturges, Unfaithfully Yours, and the Narrative role of comedic scapegoating.

* Check out Dave’s new Robert Benchley blog – an attempt to annotate and reflect upon as many of the master humorist’s 2000+ pieces as he can locate – Benchley Data: A Wayward Annotation Project! 

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