Fighting Sullivans, The

2282. THE FIGHTING SULLIVANS (1944-usA). With ANNE BAXTER, THOMAS MITCHELL, selena royle, ward bond, bobby driscoll. Directed by lloyd bacon. This bean wrenching drama was made at the height of World War II, when American mothers and father were sending their sons off to battle. In too many cases, these young men never were to return. It opens with a simple declaration: “This is a true story.” What follows is the account of five young men named Sullivan. They enjoy a typical all-American small town childhood as they share youthful adventures and mischief. The Sullivans go fishing and boating. They worship in church. The boyishly slide down the banister of their house and squabble among themselves and with others. Their hardworking father tries to set for them a good example. Their mother cooks their meals, cleans their clothes and mediates their differences. The years pass too quickly and the Sullivans become young men. They date and go to dances. One of them falls in love and marries. Then terrible news comes, on December 7, 1941. The Japanese have launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. America is at war. “It’s always been the five of us,” one of the Sullivans proclaims. So they join the navy to do their patriotic duty. This is a tremendously moving account of boys grown into men, and of honor and obligation, courage and sacrifice. The film is extremely well-acted, especially by Thomas Mitchell as the Sullivans’ father and Anne Baxter as the bride of the youngest Sullivan. Highly recommended. 113 minutes. Drama