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Film / Homecoming

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Homecoming is a 1948 drama film directed by Mervyn LeRoy, starring Clark Gable, Lana Turner, and Anne Baxter.

Dr. Ulysses "Lee" Johnson (Gable) is a highly prosperous surgeon, enjoying a cushy upper-class lifestyle with his gorgeous wife Penny (Baxter). His main problem is a certain lack of social consciousness, as pointed out by his far more charitably inclined colleague Dr. Robert Sunday (John Hodiak). Lee doesn't pay much attention to the news or have much of an idea of why the United States found itself at war at the end of 1941, but when it's time to join up he joins up. Eventually Dr. Johnson is assigned to an Army combat medical unit and is sent to Italy. He is assigned as his nurse one Jane "Snapshot" McCall (Turner), a serious woman who is so dedicated to the Allied war effort that she left her six-year-old son in the care of his grandparents when she joined up. As Lee and Snapshot experience the horrors of war in Italy and France, they form a bond, which deepens into love.

Third of four films pairing Gable and Turner. Turner, who was usually clad as a Sexy Sweater Girl or in tight dresses for maximum Fanservice, has a Playing Against Type role as a hard-charging nurse dressed in baggy GI uniforms.


  • Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder: Lee falls in love with Snapshot while away in Europe.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Oddly, unlike most instances of this trope, the nightmare is not shown. All we get is a shot of Penny squirming in bed and muttering "Lee" before she bolts upright awake.
  • Flashback Within a Flashback: It's a Whole Episode Flashback from Lee's perspective to begin with, but somehow we still get Penny's flashback to her Meet Cute with Lee.
  • Foreshadowing: The Time-Passes Montage that illustrates the progress of the Allies in Europe after D-Day includes a shot of a sign saying "Bastogne".
  • Gilligan Cut
    • Lee's confidence that the war in Europe can't possibly affect the United States is followed by a cut to him in an Army uniform (see It Will Never Catch On below).
    • When Penny worries about Lee's upcoming basic training, Lee says "Oh nonsense. After all, I'm a doctor, it won't be anything." Cut to Lee crawling through the mud under barbed wire, as rain pours down.
  • It Will Never Catch On: When Penny expresses concern about newspaper headlines reporting the London Blitz, Lee laughs it off, saying "Europe's a long way from butting in on us." The movie then cuts to a scene showing Lee in an army officer's uniform.
  • Meet Cute
    • Lee spouts a lot of poorly thought-out isolationist nonsense while on the transport ship, only to have the nurse sitting next to him smack him down. He's horrified to find out that she's his nurse (Snapshot).
    • A flashback reveals that Penny and Lee first met when he sat behind her at the ballet and, mistaking her for someone he knew, kissed her on the neck.
  • One-Word Title
  • Snow Means Love: Snapshot and Lee give in and have their first kiss in an army camp, in a scene where they are silouhetted against the doorway of a tent as the snow falls outside.
  • Someone to Remember Him By: Snapshot mentions that she has a six-year-old son...and that her husband was killed six years ago while volunteering as a combat pilot for the Nationalist Chinese against Japan.
  • Sympathetic Adulterer: Lee and Snapshot appear to consummate their relationship in the ruins of an old cottage somewhere outside of Bastogne. Their relationship is depicted as a doomed star-crossed romance, not anything wrong, but something caused by the trauma of war.
  • Title Drop: The reporters waiting for the troop ships to arrive talk about the soldiers' "homecoming".
  • Whole Episode Flashback: The prologue has Lee on a transport arriving in New York. A reporter asks for Lee's story, which he refuses to give, but then he starts thinking about his experiences in the war. The whole movie spools out from there in a very long flashback.