1940s Sergeant York (1941)

Published on June 1st, 2007 | by Chris

0

Sergeant York (1941)


Reviewed by:
Rating:
4
On June 1, 2007
Last modified:October 8, 2012

Summary:

I had expected this to be more war movie than biography, but once the pieces fell together for me, I found it to be a very enjoyable, and very introspective bit of film. I'd go so far as to put it up against any war movie of our time for its ultimate message and portrayal of those we consider to be "war heroes."

Sergeant York (1941)Before the movie-generating events of World War II, there was "the big one" and the heroes that emerged from it. "Sergeant York" explores the events surrounding one of the most legendary heroes of the war, one Alvin C. York, masterfully played by Gary Cooper.

Once you get past the first oh, hour or so, of wondering exactly where this movie is leading, it all starts to make sense. York is a stereotypical Tennessee hillbilly, from a stereotypical 1916 rural Tennessee hillbilly town. He's a rough character, and eventually he starts to turn around when he meets a young lady, one Gracie Williams (Joan Leslie.) From there he gradually starts turning his life around, taking on more and more responsibility, and eventually completely turning himself around after a life-changing revelation brings him to religion....

Then the war breaks out. He has to reconcile himself with the fact he may be called into duty, and the conflict with his newfound religious beliefs. He's called up before his conscientious objector status can be confirmed, and is torn from his isolated existence and thrown into a brand new world.

Here he's given a big choice. He must choose between his duty to God and his duty to his country, and eventually realizes that the two aren't exclusive. He returns to duty, and is eventually shipped off to France, to fight in the trenches.

It's here he goes above and beyond the call of duty, singlehandedly overtaking a German machine gun emplacement and in the process, capturing over 100 enemy prisoners. Gaining himself several medals, including the Congressional Medal of Honor, and is thrown into the limelight.

He eschews all the fanfare and celebrity, though. He decides to return home to Tennessee and live happily after ever with Gracie.

I will admit to becoming a little disillusioned for the first hour or so. I had expected this to be more war movie than biography, but once the pieces fell together for me, I found it to be a very enjoyable, and very introspective bit of film. I'd go so far as to put it up against any war movie of our time for its ultimate message and portrayal of those we consider to be "war heroes."

The entire "hillbilly" routine gets a bit comical, also, but I suppose that's how it went. Keep in mind the timeframe this movie was made in. Released in 1941, it came out before the US was thrown into World War II, but provided, I think, a good bit of propaganda as to why we should've been there sooner, while at the same time addressing a lot of issues that go along with that notion. Whether that was the intent or not, I can't say.

A full 8/10 from Sgt. WMB. I'd have gone higher but the hillbilly bit dragged on a bit too much, and well, the southern drawl thing... I guess voice/accent coaches were hard to come by!

Sergeant York (Two-Disc Special Edition) Sergeant York (Two-Disc Special Edition)
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Description

Sergeant York: Special Edition (Dbl DVD)Story of World War I hero who captured German position single-handedly. Film also portrays York's earlier life in the mountains of Tennessee.]]>

DVD Information

Binding: DVD
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Brand: Warner Brothers
Manufacturer: WarnerBrothers
Original Release Date:
Actors:
  • Gary Cooper
  • Walter Brennan
  • Joan Leslie
  • George Tobias
  • Stanley Ridges

Features

  • DRAMA
  • Run Time: 134
  • Release Date: 11/8/2011
  • NR
  • GARY COOPER JOAN LESLIE

Reviews

Customer Reviews
Average Customer Review

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cooper + York = Wonderful Collaboration, December 26, 2014
By 
Jay B. Lane (Seattle, WA USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Sergeant York (Two-Disc Special Edition) (DVD)
In watching "Sergeant York" I was reminded that the ugly reaction of the isolationists in the early 1940s forced the studio to pull it after only a week or two in theatres because it was "jingoistic and war-mongering." After Pearl Harbor, it was released again when patriotism and the rationale for taking up arms had become acceptable. Make no mistake, it is an excellent film, nominated for 11 Academy Awards!

If, like me, you buy it, please, please watch the extras on the second disc. Gary Cooper and Alvin York were BOTH isolationists: York, before WWI, and Cooper, when approached to play him in a movie, before WWII. The studio courted York long and hard, writing and rewriting the script, over and over to suit York's religious and political views. Of course, after struggling with the contradiction between those views, York had gone on to become the most acclaimed soldier in WWI, capturing 132 German soldiers!

Cooper was hesitant to play a living person and was... Read more
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5.0 out of 5 stars Old, but still perfect., November 13, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Sergeant York (Amazon Video)
I was raised on this movie! In the era before DVD's, DVR's and streaming Netflix, we depended on the Sunday Afternoon Movie. Whenever Sergeant York was scheduled, my father would gather us all and we would all watch together. Through the true story of Alvin York, crack shot from the Three Forks of the Wolf in Pall Mall, Tennessee, I learned about life, love, honor, duty, faith and patriotism. I still love it, and own the DVD and any book written about Alvin York. I bought this digital version on the spur of the moment when a Veteran's Day lesson plan fell through with my class (guest speaker cancelled). At first, the kids were unsure of a 70-year old black and white movie. But the inspiring story and great Gary Cooper soon changed their minds. When it was done, several said to me "For an old movie, that was pretty good!" High praise indeed from a twelve-year old. You can't go wrong with this one.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars America The Beautiful!, June 19, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Sergeant York (Two-Disc Special Edition) (DVD)
This movie is a war story. What makes it so strange and surreal, is that the man whom it portrays (the most decorated war hero of WWI) was in fact, a pacifist. Digest that for a few moments, if you will.

Truth is stranger than fiction, and this is one of the strangest twists of history you'll ever read about (or see here, in Sergeant York).

Now enter Gary Cooper, hand picked by the war hero himself, to play his life in this Hollywood classic. Enter again, Walter Brennan. These actors are amongst the greatest Hollywood legends ever, and this movie shows you why that was the case.

The end of an era has arrived (the close of the 1800's, when men still rode horses, or in buckboards, and carried the six-gun in a holster, a common sight back then).

The 19th century has slipped over the horizon. It's the 1900's now (still over 100 years ago at this writing). But the old never goes away all at once.

A young drinking farmer boy, by the... Read more
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Sergeant York (1941) Chris

Summary: I had expected this to be more war movie than biography, but once the pieces fell together for me, I found it to be a very enjoyable, and very introspective bit of film. I'd go so far as to put it up against any war movie of our time for its ultimate message and portrayal of those we consider to be "war heroes."

4.0


User Rating: 0 (0 votes)


About the Author

I've been watching war movies for probably 25 years now. Since December 2006 I've been sharing my habit and passion for these movies here on this site.



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