The Fourth Golden Boy Blogathon: A William Holden Celebration! – Force of Arms (1951)


This is the second of two posts dedicated to The Fourth Golden Boy Blogathon: A William Holden Celebration! being held over at The Wonderful World of Cinema, The Flapper Dame and Love Letters to Old Hollywood.

Tnx Virginie, Emily and Michaela for letting me take part!

“Don’t those Krauts ever run outta ammo?” – Sgt. Smiley ‘Mac’ McFee

“Gee I hope they don’t. When they lift their fire it means they’re comin’ in.” – Sgt. Joe Peterson

Number of Times Seen – 1 (16 Apr 2019)

Brief Synopsis – During World War II, a gruff soldier and a female WAC on the front fall in love but can their love survive the conflict around them?

My Take on it – This is another William Holden film that I had never heard of before choosing to watch it for this blogathon.

The overall premise is one that has been done and redone so many times over the year and in many cases much more efficiently than they manage to do here.

This film suffers from a lack of believing that the story could actually take place like they present things.

Holden does a fine job in the lead as does Nancy Olson as his newfound love, but the chemistry between the two of them doesn’t make us believe that they are truly caught up in a whirlwind love affair in the midst of the war.

Another problem with Holden’s character is that he is meant to split his scenes among two very diverse and distinct personalities.

The tough soldier personality and the hopeless romantic persona don’t mess very well together in the same character and that also helps to make things feel less believable.

The film tries to split the screen time between two parts of the story; the war and battle aspects and the love affair aspects and things feel incomplete because there is a lack of balance between these two aspects.

Bottom Line – This isn’t such a powerful film because it tries to tackle a subject that has been redone so often and most times much more accurately and believable. Holden is fine in the lead, but it’s a bit hard to believe him as both the tough soldier on the front and the hopeless romantic when on leave because the personalities are too diverse.  Holden and Olson have ok chemistry together but once again, it’s hard to believe their whirlwind love affair. Since the film tries to hold up both the battle aspects of the film along with the love story aspect, both feel incomplete and lacking which is quite a shame.

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – The lapel insignia Lt. MacKay wears on her uniform is the head of the Greek goddess Pallas Athene, which represents Wisdom, Crafts and Victory – meant to symbolize the purpose of the WACs in WWII. (From IMDB)

Rating – BAFTA Worthy (5/10)

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6 thoughts on “The Fourth Golden Boy Blogathon: A William Holden Celebration! – Force of Arms (1951)

  1. Pingback: Day 1: 4th Wonderful William Holden Golden Boy Blogathon – The Flapper Dame

  2. This one I have seen- and I have to agree with you- Its just not something that hooks you – despite the casting and premise- its forgettable. I always feel Bill is the actor who can give a performance of what you want- but is sometimes held back by a poor script and or director which seemed the case in this one. In fact in an attempt to gain an audience this film was re released under the title “A girl for Joe”- as you can guess It didn’t work.Thank you so much for taking the time to write not one but two entries for this blogathon!

    Liked by 1 person

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