Home of the Brave (1949)

86 mins | Drama | May 1949

Director:

Mark Robson

Writer:

Carl Foreman

Producer:

Stanley Kramer

Cinematographer:

Robert de Grasse

Editor:

Harry Gerstad

Production Designer:

Rudolph Sternad

Production Company:

Screen Plays II Corp.
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HISTORY

The working title of this film was High Noon . In Arthur Laurents' play, the character played by James Edwards is Jewish, and the conflict revolves around antisemitism. The Var review commented that the thematic switch was made because antisemitism had already been depicted in previous Hollywood films and was therefore in danger of being "overplayed." A 20 Mar 1949 NYT news item noted that associate producer Robert Stillman "paid the entire cost of the picture with the help of his father without recourse to the banks, a startling departure from Hollywood custom." A 23 Mar 1949 DV news item reported that producer Stanley Kramer shot for two weeks on the picture before securing the legal rights to Laurents' play. According to a 28 Feb 1949 HR news item, some scenes in the film were shot in Malibu and Baldwin Hills, CA and government footage of fighting in the Pacific was to be included. On 21 Mar 1949, HR reported that background choral work would be performed by the Jester Hairston Choir, but their participation in the released film has not been confirmed. HR also noted on 30 Mar 1949 that Screen Plays had received a request for a print of the film from President Truman.
       MPH called the film "the first picture dealing with anti-Negro prejudice." Although initially banned in Southern Rhodesia by the South African government, the film was eventually approved for public screenings, excluding "children and natives." Despite early fears, the picture was not censored or protested in the South, although African Americans in Houston were allowed to ... More Less

The working title of this film was High Noon . In Arthur Laurents' play, the character played by James Edwards is Jewish, and the conflict revolves around antisemitism. The Var review commented that the thematic switch was made because antisemitism had already been depicted in previous Hollywood films and was therefore in danger of being "overplayed." A 20 Mar 1949 NYT news item noted that associate producer Robert Stillman "paid the entire cost of the picture with the help of his father without recourse to the banks, a startling departure from Hollywood custom." A 23 Mar 1949 DV news item reported that producer Stanley Kramer shot for two weeks on the picture before securing the legal rights to Laurents' play. According to a 28 Feb 1949 HR news item, some scenes in the film were shot in Malibu and Baldwin Hills, CA and government footage of fighting in the Pacific was to be included. On 21 Mar 1949, HR reported that background choral work would be performed by the Jester Hairston Choir, but their participation in the released film has not been confirmed. HR also noted on 30 Mar 1949 that Screen Plays had received a request for a print of the film from President Truman.
       MPH called the film "the first picture dealing with anti-Negro prejudice." Although initially banned in Southern Rhodesia by the South African government, the film was eventually approved for public screenings, excluding "children and natives." Despite early fears, the picture was not censored or protested in the South, although African Americans in Houston were allowed to attend only midnight screenings. Parents Magazine gave the picture a "special merit award," and Kramer was honored by the G. W. Carver Memorial Committee for his work on the film. Modern sources note that Kramer created a black press campaign and arranged for an opening of the film in Harlem, NY. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
30 Apr 1949.
---
Daily Variety
23 Mar 1949.
---
Daily Variety
29 Apr 49
p. 3.
Daily Variety
1 Aug 1949.
---
Daily Variety
29 Nov 1949.
---
Film Daily
29 Apr 49
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Feb 49
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Mar 49
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Mar 49
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Mar 49
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Mar 49
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Apr 49
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Apr 49
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Apr 49
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Aug 49
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Dec 1949.
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 Dec 49
p. 6.
Los Angeles Daily News
11 Aug 1949.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
30 Apr 49
p. 4590.
New York Times
20 Mar 1949.
---
New York Times
13 May 49
p. 29.
Variety
4 May 49
p. 11.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Dial dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Cam op
Gaffer
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus comp and dir
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Head grip
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Home of the Brave by Arthur Laurents (New York, 27 Dec 1945).
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
High Noon
Release Date:
May 1949
Premiere Information:
World premiere in New York: 12 May 1949
Production Date:
late February--late March 1949
Copyright Claimant:
Screen Plays II Corp.
Copyright Date:
17 June 1949
Copyright Number:
LP2476
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
86
Length(in feet):
7,737
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
PCA No:
13715
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

During World War II, black soldier Peter Moss is admitted to a military hospital suffering from partial amnesia and paralysis. After the doctor finds no physical injury to account for his condition, the doctor asks Moss's superior, Maj. Robinson, to recount for him their recent reconnaissance mission: Robinson recalls that he had chosen his best men for a four-day mission to survey a Pacific island occupied by Japanese forces. Summoned to Robinson's office are Corp. T. J. Everett, a cartographer named Finch and another soldier named Mingo. When Moss arrives, Finch, his old school chum, is thrilled to see him, while Robinson expresses dismay. Robinson phones Col. Baker immediately to complain about Moss's race, but is told that he was the only surveyor to volunteer. Back at the hospital, the doctor begins a treatment called "narco-synthesis," in which drugs are used to trigger repressed memories. When the shot is administered, Moss recalls that after landing on the beach, the team buried their rubber dinghy in the sand. During their breaks from collecting data, Moss and Finch plan the restaurant and bar that they will open when they return home. After Moss and Finch become lost, however, Finch blames Moss and almost calls him "nigger." Just as a disappointed Moss is forced to acknowledge Finch's racist feelings, Finch is shot. Realizing that he is badly injured, Finch tells Moss to leave with the maps. Back in the hospital, Moss wakes up from his trance feeling that he was responsible for Finch's death. During a subsequent session, however, Moss recalls that he had asked Robinson for permission to return ... +


During World War II, black soldier Peter Moss is admitted to a military hospital suffering from partial amnesia and paralysis. After the doctor finds no physical injury to account for his condition, the doctor asks Moss's superior, Maj. Robinson, to recount for him their recent reconnaissance mission: Robinson recalls that he had chosen his best men for a four-day mission to survey a Pacific island occupied by Japanese forces. Summoned to Robinson's office are Corp. T. J. Everett, a cartographer named Finch and another soldier named Mingo. When Moss arrives, Finch, his old school chum, is thrilled to see him, while Robinson expresses dismay. Robinson phones Col. Baker immediately to complain about Moss's race, but is told that he was the only surveyor to volunteer. Back at the hospital, the doctor begins a treatment called "narco-synthesis," in which drugs are used to trigger repressed memories. When the shot is administered, Moss recalls that after landing on the beach, the team buried their rubber dinghy in the sand. During their breaks from collecting data, Moss and Finch plan the restaurant and bar that they will open when they return home. After Moss and Finch become lost, however, Finch blames Moss and almost calls him "nigger." Just as a disappointed Moss is forced to acknowledge Finch's racist feelings, Finch is shot. Realizing that he is badly injured, Finch tells Moss to leave with the maps. Back in the hospital, Moss wakes up from his trance feeling that he was responsible for Finch's death. During a subsequent session, however, Moss recalls that he had asked Robinson for permission to return for Finch, but had been refused. From their position near the beach, the team listens to Finch's plaintive cries as he is tortured by Japanese soldiers. Robinson instructs T. J. to cross the beach and uncover the dinghy, instructing each of them to fire four quick shots if they encounter trouble. Moss volunteers to wait at the camp while the others go the beach to inflate the dinghy. Suddenly, he sees Finch crawl into a nearby clearing and die. Now finding that he is unable to walk, Moss fires four shots to summon the team, who must carry him to the dinghy. Back in the hospital, Moss awakens from his trance, and the doctor postulates that after seeing Finch shot, he experienced a momentary flash of relief that the bullet had wounded Finch, instead of him. This feeling of relief then led to guilt, the doctor explains, and the result was paralysis. To persuade Moss to try and walk, the doctor shouts, "Get up, you dirty nigger," which so angers Moss that he struggles to his feet and stumbles forward. By the time he has crossed the room, however, Moss's anger has subsided, and he gratefully embraces the doctor. The next day, shortly after he is discharged, Moss meets Mingo, who has lost an arm in battle. Moss repeats the doctor's explanation of his paralysis, and Mingo admits to feeling momentarily relieved after seeing a buddy shot. This admission consoles Moss, and he and Mingo decide to become partners in the restaurant and bar business. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.