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!
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