Here's the plot: Jane Wyman, the most boring actress of all time, is pushing forty and leads a lonely, dreary life in World War II-era New York, working in an office and living with her embittered mother who was deserted by her husband years before. One rainy day she meets loud, lovable soldier Van Johnson as both of them are standing in a crowd of people, waiting for the rain to let up. Johnson's Pollyana philosophy of life, which he booms out in a crowd to the annoyance of everybody present, probably, somehow appeals to Jane, and they end up going
somewhere together, I forget where.
He begins squiring her around New York, and finally gets orders to ship out, at which point he kisses her for the first time, as far as I could tell, and tells her he loves her, then jumps on an Army bus and heads to war. Before he leaves, he shows her that he's wearing his "lucky" Roman coin, which will protect him from harm.
She writes him dull letters every day: Every one of them starts out "Dear Art" --- never "Darling", or "My darling Art", or even "Dearest". I suspect these letters contained the same amount of passion a woman might put in a letter to her brother. Anyway, he never writes back, and her mother hisses things like, "MEN! They're all alike!"
Jane eventually gets a letter from Johnson's C.O., telling her that her lover has been killed in action.
Jane is inconsolable, and starts hanging out at St. Patrick's Cathedral, lighting candles at the altar of St. Andrew, for whom she feels sorry because nobody ever lights candles for him. She also develops a cough, but still won't stay home from work, or stop annoying St. Andrew.
Finally, she goes to the cathedral in the rain and stands at the altar bawling, "Why did you take Art from me?" and then leaves. Well, lo and behold, she has a vision of Art coming across the street to bore her with more of his homespun wisdom about how love never dies, she's the bee's knees, etc., and they embrace. Then he melts into thin air and she collapses on the pavement. A kind-hearted priest, played by handsome Paul Picerni, comes out and calls an ambulance, then notices that she has something clasped in her hand.
The item in her hand is
.ARE YOU READY FOR THIS??? YOU WON'T BELIEVE IT! ---- the LUCKY COIN that Art took into battle! Oh, and Jane's father, who as I noted above, deserted her and Jane's mother years before, comes back home that same night! Now that I've panned this movie up and down, I will say, in the vain hope that some kind reader will rate this review as "useful", that the cast was good: Van Johnson was always one of my favorites, and Eileen Heckart, as Ms. Wyman's office friend, was a sympathetic and likable character. Fred Clark, another great character actor, was on hand to play the role of Wyman's philandering boss. And the shots of various NYC locales were great, especially the interior of St. Patrick's Cathedral. Other than that, well, this is strictly for die-hard Jane Wyman fans -- both of them.