Maxwell Anderson’s stage hit of the 1942-43 season was a subtle flag-waver whose basic purposes were shrouded by the always terse, down-to-earth dialog of American doughboys, pre- and post-Pearl Harbor. Much of this quality the film has retained, though for the screen there was an inevitable elimination of some of the play’s salty lines and sex implications. In short, St Mark has become a homey comedy-drama of a farmboy inductee, his family, sweetheart and barracks comrades. It remains almost a Johnny Doughboy documentary.
It is a picture of superlative performances. William Eythe, as the farmboy inductee, has his biggest part to date, and does much with it. He and Anne Baxter share the romance, and she, too, gives a fine characterization, as does, notably, Michael O’Shea, in the same role he created in the Broadway stage version, when he was known as Eddie O’Shea. Vincent Price, as the poetical southerner; Ruth Nelson as the mother; Ray Collins, the father; Stanley Prager and George Mathews are others who stand out in a cast of standouts.