Pride of the Marines (1945)

Pride of the Marines (1945), directed by Delmer Daves.

Before the War, John Garfield is a confirmed bachelor. After a rocky blind date beginning, he and Eleanor Parker are just starting to warm to each other when Pearl Harbor intervenes. He has a tough time at Guadalcanal and is blinded. He doesn't handle it well. Will he allow the love of a good woman to save him?

This is a dramatized bio-pic of Al Schmid, made immediately after the real events. Garfield did extensive prep work and lived with the Schmid family for a while. The wikipedia article has details.

The frame is typical Warner wartime entertainment, where everyone is a cute character and the prospective couple is settled in the end. It gets much heavier in the battle scenes and the fighting is intense and nerve-wracking. The hospital section in the second half has a long period of thick self-pity (Garfield is your man for that) and it becomes a message film for a while. The soldiers are worried that the Depression will return after the war and they'll be living on the street. Some cautions on prejudice against Jews and Mexicans, although nothing for the Japanese yet.

Garfield lives the role, and Eleanor Parker is, as always, one of the loveliest and most endearing actresses of that era.

Warner Archive DVD, available for rent from ClassicFlix.