Armed with GI battle gear and his jaded, world-weary screen persona, William Holden pushes toward Rome with the famed Texas 36th Division Infantry in Force of Arms, from the author of Guadalcanal Diary.
"You never hear the one that gets you" is the common wisdom when enemy shells fall. Similarly, Joe Peterson (Holden) never knows what hits him when he meets WAC officer Eleanor MacKay (Nancy Olson). Joe's always been fearless in battle. Now it's tempered by a new-found will to survive. But caution in war can have dire consequences. Holden and Olson, fellow Sunset Blvd. Oscar nominees the year before, are powerfully and tenderly reunited as lovers engulfed in war's chaos. They're well showcased by the director of the ultimate wartime romance: Casablanca's Michael Curtiz.
A GIRL FOR JOE was the reissue title for the 1951 WWII romantic drama FORCE OF ARMS. William Holden and Nancy Olson, previously teamed in SUNSET BOULEVARD and UNION STATION, co-star once more as, respectively, an Army sergeant and a WAC officer. While on leave, Holden and Olson fall in love, but before long Holden is sent back to the front. Surviving the battle of San Pietro, Holden is tortured by the fact that he may have "choked" under fire, indirectly causing the deaths of his CO Frank Lovejoy and several of his comrades. Even after his happy marriage to Olson, Holden cannot purge himself of his guilt feelings. Despite his wife's protestations, Holden re-ups to atone for past mistakes. Told that Holden is missing in action, Nancy refuses to give her husband up for dead and heads for the front herself. Officially based on a short story by Richard Tregaskis, this drama is actually a semi-remake of Hemingway's A FAREWELL TO ARMS, previously filmed in 1932 (this may partially explain why Warner Bros., producers of FORCE OF ARMS, purchased the rights to the 1932 film).
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