This simple film was made in the American zone of Germany, principally in and around the rubbled remains of Nuremberg. Only four of its actors are professionals, the others having been recruited on the spot.
The story is the familiar one of a family torn apart by the Nazis. This time the family is Czech. Only survivors are the mother and a nine-year-old boy, who are separated. Unable to differentiate between the beatings suffered from the Germans and the good intent of UNRRA’s displaced persons workers, the lad runs away. His cap is found by a river bank and it is assumed he has drowned. Actually, he lives amongst the rubble until hunger tempts him close enough to a GI for the soldier to catch him.
The four professionals in the cast are Montgomery Clift, as the GI, making his film debut following a Broadway break-in; Aline MacMahon, as the camp official, and as typical a social worker as one could put a finger on anywhere; Jarmila Novotna, Metropolitan Opera singer and herself a Czech, who plays the mother, and Wendell Corey.
1948: Best Motion Picture Story, Special Award (Ivan Jandl)
Nominations: Best Director, Actor (Montgomery Clift), Screenplay