8 August 2018 | drednm
Too much time is spent setting up the homey 1944 small town setting with Barnard Hughes is a crusty newspaper editor married to the brittle Sada Thompson. Things get off to a shaky start when a young man flying a bi-plane accidentally fires shots into a cafe, setting the town into a frenzy. It's World War II, you know.
The trouble is that the viewer can't tell if this is supposed to be comic or not? It's such a stupid thing to show, and the townspeople overact to the point of farce. The guy's father (Robert Prosky) is Hughes' best friend, and their kids were married to each other. She's dead; he's in the war; the grandson (Neil Patrick Harris) lives with Hughes and Thompson.
Things get prickly when we learn that Hughes and his son (Bill Pullman) never got along and now he's reported missing in Europe. Hughes and Thompson have a big fight over his unforgiving ways, and then he has a fight with Prosky over the car crash that killed the daughter.
Things get even weirder when Pullman is reported killed in action and his body is sent home. In the meantime, Pullman's wife (Elizabeth Berridge) no one knew about shows up about ready to drop a baby.
Events from this point are far too unrealistic, and the film spins off into grim drama, eventually resolving none of the issues it has presented.
Hughes and Prosky are good. Thompson has basically nothing to do but look pained. Harris is OK. Berridge is OK. Pullman turns in a lousy performance. The other annoyance is the stupid names the characters have. Thompson plays a character named Pastine, while Prosky plays Rosh. No one ever comments on these ugly names or explains them. There are also characters named Fog, Biscuit, Alsatia, and Tunstall.
All the cars are gleamingly clean and new (for 1944) and so is the bi-plane. You can tell they were all recently taken out of a museum. That's where the script for this one should have stayed.