I Fall for Fred Derry


The Best Years of Our Lives (William Wyler, 1946) is, without a doubt, one of the best post-war movies that has been made in Hollywood. It’s touching, sad, beautiful, etc. This 9 Oscars winning picture has all the ingredients to be a favorite among classic film lovers. On my side, if Fredric March delivers my favorite Oscar-Winning performance by an actor in a leading role, it’s for Dana Andrew as Fred Derry that I’ve developed a real crush through the years. Today, forget about the cinematography, forget about the editing, forget about the music. We are here to focus on our imaginary love for Derry! Meow!


This article is part of the Reel Infatuation Blogathon 2017 hosted by Ruth from Silver Screenings and Font & Frock. A way to finally cry over our impossible love for movie stars and movie characters. I had A LOT of options, but Fred Derry/Dana Andrews it is!

Reel Infatuation 2017

Before continuing, if you haven’t seen the movie and wish to know more what it’s all about, please click here. But, basically, it’s the story of three American soldiers going back home after the war and struggling with the challenges of a new life and a country that has changed a lot during their absence.


So, Fred Derry is the first character to be introduced to us, in an airport (that’s an important precision to make since I’ve always enjoyed taking the plane. One point for Fred!). He wears his very chic army uniform that perfectly draws the line of his amazing body. He imposes himself in an impressive elegance.

When he later is on the plane to go home with his new friends, Al Stephenson (Fredric March) and Homer Parrish (Harold Russell), and making jokes with them, we can notice his absolutely cutie-pie smile that will make our heart melt. *Sigh. Plus, he seems to be one with a great sense of humour, which is a quality I always priories. I mean, what would be life without some laughs?!


Later, when the three friends are reunited at Butch’s (Homer’s uncle’s bar), Fred makes the acquaintance of Al’s wife Milly (Myrna Loy) and his daughter Peggy (Teresa Wright). We immediately know that this one won’t leave him indifferent. Oh! How we’d like to be in her place, drinking a glass with him, very close from one to each other. Hey, they say their love is impossible since Fred is already married, but imagine how impossible it is for me! Ok, I have to give one point to Marie Derry, since she is played by Virginia Mayo. Virginia. Awesome name, isn’t it? 😉 But with my dark brown hair, I’m personally much more the Teresa Wright type. But I like doing the party like Marie. I guess I’m somehow a mix of both!


At the end of their most entertaining evening/night at Butch’s, Fred once again does everything for me to want to go in the television screen and be on his side. First, when he gets out of the Stephenson’s car to go to Marie’s apartment, he always hurt his head on the car’s door frame. He’s like so cute and so clumsy! ❤ And he apologizes. Poor Fred! ❤ He shows a beautiful vulnerability that we love. Of course, just like Milly and Peggy, I too would have gotten out of the car and bring him home for the night (because it seems that Marie isn’t in here  to welcome him). But, I personally would be less resistant than Peggy on a certain point. When she puts him to bed and he takes her in his arms exclaiming “Peggy!” in an amusing way and she managed to liberate oneself quite rapidly saying “I’m not THAT Peggy”, that makes me think “Well, girl, if you’re not ‘THAT Peggy’, I would like to be her without problem.” Anyway, we later learn that his wife is a real b****, so I personally wouldn’t have felt sorry.

During the night, Fred once again breaks our heart when he has a nightmare. His tears simply make us want to take him in our arms and comfort him. Luckily, Peggy is once again here to take care of him. Because, yes, men can cry too!

Unlike Al who works at the bank, Fred doesn’t make a fortune. He works in the new department store, part time in the perfume section and part time in the ice cream bar. Ok, I have a confession to make: I LOVE ice cream. It’s like my favourite food ever. So, I certainly would have liked to have one prepared by Fred! I love this scene where he explains to Peggy how he used to be such a good soda jerk before the war. He seems very passionate by the thing!


Finally, we have to give more points to Fred on 3 main occasions: 1- When he cooks dinner for him and Marie. Marie wants to go out, but they can’t as he is too poor. But hey, a man cooking dinner! That’s certainly not something we see often in classic films. Good initiative Fred! I tell you, he is a man to marry. 😉 [SPOILERS] 2- When he FINALLY kisses Peggy. Ok, they kind of regret it as he is married, but how I wish to be at Peggy’s place. He seems to be a very good kisser. Anybody can confirm? 😛 And 3- When he kisses Peggy again at Homer’s wedding, but this time there is no regrets since he and Marie are divorced. (YES!) [END OF SPOILERS]

So yeah, we have all the reasons to fall for Fred Derry, he is at the same time so handsome (that smile! that body!), but also so cute in his mannerisms. He’s also funny, but serious when it’s time to be. Dana Andrews certainly chose a great role for his career. Ok, he was around 37 when he starred in The Best Years of Our Lives, which is like 15 years older than me… Hey, it’s not THAT bad! A girl can dream anyway! Of course, I have a lot of competition against Peggy. Àlala…


Before living you, I want to thank Silver Screenings and Font & Frock for hosting this most original blogathon! We never take enough times to talk about our movie crushes!

To read the other entries, click on the following links

Reel Infatuation Blogathon 2017- Day 1

Reel Infatuation Blogathon 2017- Day 2

Reel Infatuation Blogathon 2017- Day 3

See you!


20 thoughts on “I Fall for Fred Derry

  1. What a guy! I love this character very much myself. Peggy was one lucky lady for sure. Alas, I cannot confirm or deny his kissing skills 😦 I’m sure he would get an A+ if kissing was scored though 🙂 I’ve always thought Dana Andrews was a very sexy man, and I particularly think so in this film. I like how this film deals with the stress and flashbacks veterans endure. They try to have a normal life, but can’t escape their demons.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Virginie, I loved your tribute to the handsome Fred Derry. I agree with everything you said! Some of my fave scenes in this film involve Dana Andrews – he breaks your heart when he has those nightmares, and he’s utterly mesmerizing when he sits in that decommissioned aircraft.

    I’m so glad you joined our blogathon! Thanks for bringing Fred Derry with you. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Be still my beating heart! Oh Fred. I defy anyone to watch this film and not fall for him. He really is almost perfect. Thanks to Dana Andrews portrayal of Fred I became his fan and have been working my way through all of his films that I can find. Loved your tribute!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. First, thank you for sending me the link of Tony Perkins singing – I’m now obsesed with Evening Primrose!
    And, oh, what can I tell about Fred Derry? It’s hard to choose, but his plot was probably my favorite in The Best Years of Our Lives. Dana Andrews was gorgeous, and this is ont f his best moments!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I HEART DANA ANDREWS! I did mine on him for last year’s reel infatuation as Mark Mcpherson in Laura!
    But Fred- he’s so dreamy!!! I do love this movie- if only I could have met him at the soda fountain love over ice cream!!!- You’re not Marie’s only competition!! AND Hey OLDER GUYS= WISER GUYS!! GO FOR IT GURRLL!!! 😉 Great as always Ginnie!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is one of my fave films of the 1940s. Fredric March usually steals my heart in his films, but he’s definitely overshadowed by Dana Andrews in the crush department here. Thanks so much for this post, and for joining our blogathon!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. One of my absolute favorite movies. This is the one I consider most perfect. I agree that Andrews did a good job here, as did Fredric March and Hoagy Carmichael, but I’m much more taken with Teresa Wright, Myrna Loy, and Cathy O’Donnell. Homer’s story was the one that I was most interested in. I believe that Harold Russell deserved both Oscars he received for his work. And I guess I’m living proof that, as you said in your review, “yes, men can cry, too”; the scene where Wilma proves her devotion to Homer gets me every time.

    Great movie. And, as usual, great article, Virginie 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Andrews as Fred is a lifelong crush for me. While I love some of Andrews other roles, like in Laura and My foolish Heart (swoon), this role was much more complex and nuanced. How Andrews did not win an Academy award here is beyond me.


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