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The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

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Homer's homecoming

After splitting a cab, each of the men gets dropped off at home.  Homer returns to the quiet, middle-class neighborhood where he grew up, and his family is overjoyed to see him, as is his girlfriend Wilma (Cathy O'Donnell, right).  No one knows quite how to deal with his handicap however -- whether they should acknowledge it or ignore it -- and ill at ease, Homer finally takes a walk.

Al reunited with Milly, Peggy and Rob

Al, a former banker, goes home to his "swanky" apartment house and is reunited with his wife Milly (Myrna Loy) and two children, Peggy (Teresa Wright) and Rob (Michael Hall).  He's so uncomfortable however, that he can hardly sit still, and he suggests that Milly and Peggy join him for a night on the town and a few drinks.

Homer, Peggy, Fred, Milly, Butch and Al have a beer

Al is well plastered by the time his adventures lead him to Butch's Place where he is reunited with his old buddies Homer (who stopped in to visit his uncle Butch) and Fred (who couldn't find his wife).  Butch (Hoagy Carmichael, upper right) sees that the group is well cared for, and the revelry continues late into the night.

Hoagy Carmichael plays for March and Loy

Fredric March and Myrna Loy on the set of Butch's being entertained by Hoagy Carmichael, one of America's leading Jazz songwriters and an actor who gave several memorable film performances in piano-playing character parts in the 1940s and '50s.

Carmichael plays Homer's uncle Butch Engle in THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES, a saloon keeper and man of few words who, nevertheless, has a lot to say.  He also plays one of his trademark songs in the film, "Lazy River."

Memorable Quotations:

  • "Give 'em time, Kid.  They'll catch on.  You know, your folks'll get used to you and you'll get used to them.  Then everything'll settle down nicely -- unless we have another war.  Then none of us have to worry 'cause we'll all be blown to bits the first day.  So cheer up, huh?" --Butch Engle.
  • "Step." --Milly Stephenson.
  • "Fine people, the Merrills.  Strictly T.C.R. . . . Top Credit Rating." --Al Stephenson.
  • "I'm going to break that marriage up!" --Peggy Stephenson.
  • "I'm obviously the kind of girl that takes these things too seriously." --Peggy Stephenson.
Al and Milly dance

Al and Milly dancing to their favorite song, "Among My Souvenirs."

There's nothing left for me
Of days that used to be.
They're just a memory
Among my souvenirs...

(Read the complete lyrics to "Among My Souvenirs".)

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Last updated: March 10, 2011.
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