A fine opportunity to explore the emotional conflict and military-political hush-hush regarding the unexpected reappearance of US soldiers recorded as dead in Vietnam and Cambodia is missed almost totally in Franklin J. Schaffner’s Welcome Home.
Kris Kristofferson looks suitably haggard and tired as Lt Jake Robbins, who returns to Vermont after 17 years in Cambodia. He was shot down there and put in POW camp. Jake later settled down to married village life with Cambodian Leang (Kieu Chinh Nguyen) who bore him two children.
It is not until he wakes up in a New York State Air Force hospital that Jake remembers that he had just married his American sweethert Sarah (mournfully played by JoBeth Williams) before he set out on his Far East tour of duty. He is told that she is now remarried and lives happily in Vermont with her second husband (Sam Waterston) and 17-year-old son (Thomas Wilson Brown), who is actually Jake’s.
Jake, however, feels he must at least see his son, so he bungles on to the Vermont scene where he upsets everybody.
An uninspired screenplay does not help Schaffner in making the film move forward more than sluggishly. The plot flounders is shallow waters.