6.8/10
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A Medal for Benny (1945)

Outcast Benny Martin joined the army to escape public scorn. But when the townspeople learn that he is to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor, they pretend that he and his family are cherished, eminent citizens.

Director:

Irving Pichel

Writers:

Frank Butler (screen play), Jack Wagner (additional dialogue) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Dorothy Lamour ... Lolita Sierra
Arturo de Córdova ... Joe Morales (as Arturo de Cordova)
J. Carrol Naish ... Charley Martin
Mikhail Rasumny ... Raphael Catalina
Fernando Alvarado ... Chito Sierra
Charles Dingle ... Zach Mibbe
Frank McHugh ... Edgar Lovekin
Rosita Moreno ... Toodles Castro
Grant Mitchell ... Mayor of Pantera
Douglass Dumbrille ... General
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Storyline

Outcast Benny Martin joined the army to escape public scorn. But when the townspeople learn that he is to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor, they pretend that he and his family are cherished, eminent citizens.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

16 April 1945 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Morte de uma Ilusão See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on October 15, 1945 with Dorothy Lamour reprising her film role. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Dorothy Lamour and J. Carrol Naish Shine
20 May 2012 | by drednmSee all my reviews

Another Monterey Peninsula story from John Steinbeck (along with "Tortilla Flat" and "Cannery Row") to make it to the big screen. This WW II story is about the "Paisanos" (defined as ancestors of Indians and Spanish settlers) in a slum section of a small fishing village on Santa Cruz Bay. Their simple lives are changed when news spreads that one of their own, Benny Martin, has become a war hero.

Benny's girl friend (Dorothy Lamour) is being romanced by the town ne'er do well (Arturo de Cordova) who keeps coming up with get-rich-quick schemes. Benny's father (J. Carrol Naish in an Oscar-nominated performance) is a simple man who is bewildered by the world at large.

When news hist that Benny is being awarded a presidential medal, the "white fathers" decided to use the news as a publicity gimmick (shades of Peston Sturges) to put the town on the map. In a frenzy of activity, the town leaders coerce the father to leave his shack and move into a big new house. They also start a PR campaign to paint Benny and his family as a proud Spanish family with money. The hypocrisy of the town leaders is quite well done, especially after the father realizes the lie and moves back to his shack.

When an Army general shows up to award the posthumous medal, the town leaders are shocked when he decides to go to the father and take his entourage with him. The big military parade, shown against the shacks, is very powerful as is the father's final speech about his son.

Naish steals the show as the humble father, but Lamour is also excellent as the fiery Lolita, who has a sharp eye for the truth. De Cordova is OK. Others in the fine cast include Charles Dingle as the bank manager, Frank McHugh as the PR man, Douglas Dumbrille as the general, Grant Mitchell as the mayor, Mikhail Rasumny as Raphael, and Rosita Moreno as the trouble-making Toodles.

This is a terrific film filled with irony and bitterness and sadness about the world of war and those who are left behind.


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