The Home of the Creative Mind

Welcome to PooBahSpiel, the online voice and home of the creative mind of Mark Monlux, Illustrator Extraordinaire. Prepare yourself for an endless regaling of art directly from the hand of this stellar artist. And brace yourself against his mighty wind of pontification. Updates are kinda weekly and show daily sketches, current projects, and other really nifty stuff.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Comic Critic Reviews The Best Years of Our Lives

Until the release of The Best Years of Our Lives, very few movies employed post-traumatic stress as a major tool for their narratives. Until then, the stresses of war were either shown on the battle front or about an individual soldier on leave. The Best Years of Our Lives explicitly focused on soldiers’ lives after the war, yet the opening sequence cleverly introduces the idea that soldiers coming home face an entirely different battlefield. The three military men arrive in their hometown not by train or car, but by bomber. We see their anticipation of their target as they stare at the landscape unrolling beneath them. Only this time the land beneath them is their homeland. This sets the tone for churning undercurrents of emotion that prevail throughout. This movie did fantastic at the box office not only because it resonated with returning troops, but also because it resonated with the entire country, still reeling from the heavy costs of war. Harold Russell, the actor (a wartime double amputee), became the personification of America’s desire to recover, even after great loss—so much so that the Motion Picture Academy decided to give him a special Oscar for inspiring all returning vets. His nomination for Best Supporting Actor was considered a long horse, and winning that didn’t so much stun the crowd as emphasize the empathy his role generated. To this day, he remains the only actor to have received two Oscars for the same role.