In Love and War (1958 film)

In Love and War is a 1958 CinemaScope and DeLuxe Color film set in World War II, directed by Philip Dunne. It is based on the 1957 novel The Big War by Anton Myrer. Myrer was a former Marine wounded during the Second Battle of Guam in 1944.[3]

In Love and War
In Love and War FilmPoster.jpeg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPhilip Dunne
Written byEdward Anhalt
Based onThe Big War
1957 novel
by Anton Myrer
Produced byJerry Wald
StarringRobert Wagner
Dana Wynter
Jeffrey Hunter
CinematographyLeo Tover
Edited byWilliam Reynolds
Music byHugo Friedhofer
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • October 31, 1958 (1958-10-31)
Running time
111 min.
CountryUnited States
Budget$1.59 million[1]
Box office$2.5 million (US rentals)[2]

Plot summaryEdit

The film traces the progress of three Marines on shore leave in San Francisco during World War II. One of the men, Nico (Jeffrey Hunter), is a seasoned, decorated platoon sergeant; the second, Frankie (Robert Wagner), is a perennial goof-off, who drinks too much; and the third, Alan (Bradford Dillman), is an intellectual from a wealthy family. He has joined the Marines, despite his father's protests.

Nico proposes and marries his pregnant girlfriend Andrea (Hope Lange). A drunken Frankie fights with Charlie Stanton (Murvyn Vye), his hateful stepfather, who thinks him a coward. The wealthy Alan catches his fiancée, Sue (Dana Wynter), with another man.

Lorraine (Sheree North), who is in love with Frankie, has joined the military as a WAVE. She introduces his friend Alan to her roommate Kalai (France Nuyen), a nurse of Hawaiian-French heritage. They all go to Lorraine's apartment, where Frankie first passes out, then wakes up screaming at the thought of returning to the war. Lorraine decides to leave him. Kalai professes her love for Alan.

The three men return to the Pacific front. Frankie initially shows cowardice and Nico slaps some sense into him. Later, Frankie saves Alan and is honored for his heroism. Alan becomes ill with dengue fever and when a wounded Japanese soldier calls out to him for help, he tries to give the Japanese soldier some water but Nico shoots the wounded soldier and reveals to Alan and the other marines that a grenade was hidden under the wounded soldier as a trap. Alan then begins to question the futility of the war. When an advancing enemy tank threatens the platoon, Nico singlehandedly blows up the tank, but dies from his wounds.

Back home, Kalai visits Sue in the hospital after she tries to commit suicide. Suffering from alcohol withdrawal, Sue dies during Kali's visit.

The war ends and Alan returns to Kalai and becomes a professor at the local university. Frankie, now promoted to sergeant, brings Nico's last love letter home to Andrea, who has given birth to their child. Andrea tells Frankie, who has decided to stay in the Marines that she would like to see him again.



Jerry Wald, who had a deal with Fox, bought the screen rights to The Big War in March 1957. It was one of a number of war novels bought by Fox at the time, including The Young Lions, The Hunters and The Enemy Below.[4][5]

At one stage the film was known as Hell Raisers[6] before being titled In Love and War. Wald wanted Lee Remick, Richard Widmark and Ben Gazzara to play the leads.[7]

Bradford Dillman and Robert Wagner were cast in April 1958.[8] Jeff Hunter and France Nuyen were cast in June.[9]

Filming started in June 1958.[10] Dunne says filming started with "half a script" and he had to do writing on location in the Pacific.[11]

On his comedy album 1960 or Look Forward In Anger, Sahl said he wrote 16 pages of dialogue for his character and the other Marines but most of the material was edited from the final print. Director Phillip Dunne asked the producer Jerry Wald why Sahl's name was not on the posters or advertisements. Wald responded that he was told that there was nothing in Sahl's contract that required him to receive any billing. Wald signed Sahl on to a personal contract with the intention of casting him as a beatnik in The Best of Everything (1959)[12]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Aubrey Solomon, Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History, Scarecrow Press, 1989 p251
  2. ^ Aubrey Solomon, Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History, Scarecrow Press, 1989 p227
  3. ^
  4. ^ By THOMAS M PRYOR Special to The New York Times. (1957, Mar 21). "TERRIER IS SIGNED TO FILM CONTRACT" New York Times
  5. ^ By THOMAS M PRYOR Special to The New York Times. (1957, May 27). "JERRY WALD BUYS MYRER'S 'BIG WAR'" New York Times
  6. ^ By THOMAS M PRYOR Special to The New York Times. (1958, May 02). "CECELIA PARKER IN 'HARDY' MOVIE" New York Times
  7. ^ "Movie, 'The Big War,' Is Given a New Title" Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune 20 Feb 1958: a8
  8. ^ "Dillman and Wagner Will Join 'Big War'" Hopper, Hedda. Los Angeles Times 1 Apr 1958: C8.
  9. ^ "FILM EVENTS: Hunter, Nuyen in War Film" Los Angeles Times 10 June 1958: B6.
  10. ^ By, N. E. (1958, May 07). "Wald to make film in Boston" The Christian Science Monitor
  11. ^ Lee Server, Screenwriter: Words Become Pictures, 1987 p 109
  12. ^ Curtis, James Last Man Standing: Mort Sahl and the Birth of Modern Comedy University Press of Mississippi 2017

External linksEdit