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Heroes For Sale Film Review

Updated on January 8, 2019
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I am a film enthusiast and enjoy reviewing films I have watched. I like all sorts of films but mainly black & white ones from the '50s/'60s.


Film Information

Director: William A. Wellman

Producer: Hal B. Wallis

Running Time: 1 hr 16 mins

Genre: War, Drama

Budget: $290,000 (approx)

Distributed by: Warner Bros

The Film Information

Made in 1933, this film is based on Tom Holmes as he struggles to make his way through life, both on a personal and professional basis. The film begins during World War 1 with Tom and his friend, Roger Winston. When Tom captures a German, Tom is wounded and is sent to hospital to recover. Tom subsequently becomes dependent on morphine. After the war, Roger offers Tom a job in his Father's bank. This is mainly out of sympathy because Roger was meant to capture the German, but didn't out of fear. So Tom took his place with another solder, injuring himself. Roger believed Tom to be dead, but when he later found out Tom was alive, he offered him a job. But unfortunately the job gets him fired due to his addiction. Whilst Tom goes away to a sanitarium to recover from his addiction, but while he is away his mother dies of shame.

Throughout the film we see how Tom suffers such hardships starting off from WW1 and through the Great Depression. We see the struggles he has with work and his personal family life with his wife and son. Although the film is just over and hour long, we see how much his life is affected by circumstances, through no fault of his own. Director William Wellman made a classic film here, although a dark one. The acting I found very profound and believable, especially from Richard Barthelmess, who plays Tom. His character comes across on screen as a likeable person, someone I could relate to. He managed to portray the raw emotion of someone who has troubles throughout his life.

When we see the protests with the authorities, we see how people in authority control the masses with little regard to colour, race and religion. This film was well written in a way that it shows the dilemma's people can face in life, both morally with every aspect of life.


My Thoughts

There is a lot going on in this film, and considering it was made in the early 30's, I find it exceptionally well made with a strong storyline. Although it's quite a tough film to watch in parts, I found the film interesting and moving to watch. Throughout the film there are many part to Toms life which is complicated and tough, but the film is compelling viewing.

Setting out in WW1 at the beginning of the movie, then carrying on to through the depression era, we see how Tom and the people around him coped with job losses and unemployment. This isn't going to be one of them films with a fairytale ending by all means, but it does leave you feeling there is, at the very least, hope. Tom, we see, has some rotten bad luck in his life, both with jobs and his family life. But what we do see is the love he has for his son and hope for the future.

The acting from the people that starred in the film is truly wonderful. They made the film compulsive viewing. I can't believe this film is 74 years old, but I find the film is still gripping to watch. Shot in black and white, this is a film which is well worth watching if you haven't seen it already.

The Main Cast

Richard Barthelmess
Tom Holmes
Loretta Young
Gordan Wescott
Aline MacMahon
Berton Churchill
Grant Mitchell
George Gibson

© 2017 Louise Powles


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