Watch Hail the Conquering Hero
- 1 hr 41 min
Hail the Conquering Hero is a 1944 comedy film directed by Preston Sturges, starring Eddie Bracken, Ella Raines, and Raymond Walburn. It tells the story of a young man named Woodrow Truesmith, who is discharged from the Marines due to hay fever just before the end of World War II. As he returns home to the small town of Riverside, he can't bear the shame of being labeled a coward and decides to keep his discharge a secret from his family and friends.
As time passes, Woodrow's lies start to spiral out of control, and he finds himself caught up in a web of deceit. To make matters worse, the town assumes that he is a war hero due to a misunderstanding, and they plan a grand parade to honor him. Woodrow is torn between his guilt for lying and his desire to keep up the charade, and he becomes increasingly anxious as he struggles to maintain his deception.
Eddie Bracken shines in the role of Woodrow Truesmith, perfectly capturing the character's awkwardness and insecurity. His performance is both hilarious and touching, as he bumbles his way through increasingly absurd situations while still managing to be sympathetic to the audience. Ella Raines is also fantastic as the love interest, Libby, bringing a warmth and charm to the role that makes her a perfect match for Bracken's Woodrow.
One of the highlights of the film is the outstanding supporting cast, which includes Raymond Walburn as Mayor Everett D. Noble, a pompous politician who is more interested in winning votes than helping his constituents. William Demarest and Franklin Pangborn also stand out as two of Woodrow's former commanding officers, who become embroiled in his deception.
Hail the Conquering Hero is a political satire that skewers everything from small-town politics to hero worship. Sturges expertly balances the film's comedic elements with more serious themes, and the result is a movie that is both entertaining and thought-provoking. The film's final act, in particular, is a masterclass in comedic timing and misdirection, and the payoff is both satisfying and surprising.
The film's message about the dangers of hero worship and the importance of honesty still resonates today, making it a timeless classic. Hail the Conquering Hero is a must-see for fans of classic comedy, but also for anyone who appreciates a well-told story with heart and substance.
Hail the Conquering Hero is a 1944 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 41 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.6.