Heroes for Sale (Wellman, 1933)

Heroes for Sale (William A. Wellman, 1933)

Well, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen more happen during a 70-minute runtime. A soldier in combat is shot down as he brings a captive back to another soldier hiding in the bunker. The soldier survives, but is held prisoner until the end of the war. Meanwhile, the cowardly soldier is given all the credit for the enemy capture.

From there all sorts of things happen. The film covers 13+ years in the life of the man who was shot down. By the time it ends, I had almost forgot how it started. The first 20 minutes or so is the strongest as the man tries to come back into civilization after being a prisoner without proper treatment of his wounds for so long. He falls low, but slowly starts to build himself back up, making a good stretch of the film extremely poignant. The problem is that after he builds himself back up, the film whizzes off at a ferocious speed and Wellman keeps throwing plot piece after plot piece on top of each other (much of which end up making a nice, big political statement). It works from a logistical standpoint, but it still feels like too much crammed into such a short movie.  7.25/10


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