- Rated: Not Rated
- Run Time: 1 hours, 57 minutes
- Video: Black & White
- Released: November 16, 2010
- Originally Released: 1943
- Label: Warner Archives
- Encoding: Region 0 (Worldwide)
- Aspect Ratio: Full Frame
Performers, Cast and Crew:
Academy Awards 1943 -
Best Motion Picture Story: William Saroyan
Description by OLDIES.com:
A heartwarming look at family and friendship, The Human Comedy is the poignant story of high school student Homer Macauley (Mickey Rooney) and the lives he touches while delivering telegrams throughout his small California town during the troubling years of World War II. Based on an original screenplay by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright William Saroyan (which he would later adapt into a bestselling novel), the movie received four Oscar nominations - Best Picture, Director, Actor (Rooney) and B&W Cinematography - and won for Best Story. Reportedly the favorite film of MGM studio Chief Louis B. Mayer, The Human Comedy is both moving and timeless, a masterful celebration of the American way of life.
Mickey Rooney delivers a powerful performance in this moving coming-of-age tale set during WWII, based on the best-selling novel by William Saroyan. In an effort to support his family while his older brother, Marcus (Van Johnson), is away at war, Homer (Rooney) gets a job delivering telegrams for the local telegraph office. His sensitive manager, Tom Spangler (James Craig), and an elderly and wise drunken telegrapher, Willie Grogan (Frank Morgan), help Homer face the painful messages that are often tapped across the telegraph wire as he learns to accept the harsh realities of war. With the help of his faithful widowed mother (Fay Bainter), Homer navigates his new job while enduring the joys and defeats of high school in his small and charming hometown of Ithaca, California. This poignant vision of life in 1940s America, poignantly directed by Clarence Brown, follows the miniadventures of Homer's family, including a late-night rendevous between his blushing older sister Bess (Donna Reed) and a lonely soldier (Robert Mitchum). As Homer wavers on the brink of adulthood, his younger brother Ulysses (Jack Jenkin) is free to roam the streets of their idyllic small town without a care in the world in a sweetly sentimental reminder of childhood freedom and exuberance. THE HUMAN COMEDY is a simultaneously charming and heartbreaking classic that serves as a patriotic and inspiring glimpse of life for those left at home during WWII.
Based on the novel by William Soroyan, this tearjerker tells the story of a World War II telegram delivery boy whose messages almost always spell disaster. The maudlin lad learns about life from his widowed mother and philosophical old boss.
- William Saroyan wrote the script for THE HUMAN COMEDY in 18 days and had a deal with MGM to produce and direct it himself. When the studio learned that the film would run four hours, they nixed the script. MGM also nixed Saroyan's agreement to make it and paid him $78,000 for the work. Saroyan left the studio and wrote a novel from the story of the script. THE HUMAN COMEDY became a best-seller when it was published in 1943, the same year the film opened.
- The original running time for the film was approximately 170 minutes and was shown as a sneak preview only once before MGM reedited it.