"The Best Days of Our Lives"

'The Best Days of Our Lives' The quintessential coming-home movie, this beautifully wrought 1946 drama directed by William Wyler won numerous Oscars including best film, director, actor (Fredric March) and supporting actor (Harold Russell). “Best Years” focuses on three different men returning to civilian life. March is a middle-aged well-established banker with a wife (Myrna Loy) and two children; Dana Andrews is an Air Force captain who was a soda jerk before the war; and Russell is a young man from a close-knit family who lost both hands during the war. Russell was an Army instructor training with the U.S. 13th Airborne Division stateside in 1944 when a defective fuse he was handling while making a training film exploded. He was given two hooks to replace his destroyed hands. While attending Boston University after his recovery, he was featured in an Army film called “Diary of a Sergeant” about the rehabilitation of war veterans. Wyler saw the movie and cast him in “Best Years." Russell became the only performer to receive two Oscars for the same role: he won best supporting actor and a special Oscar “for bringing hope and courage to his fellow veterans.” But in 1992, Russell sold one of his Oscars to a private collector in order to pay for his wife’s medical bills.
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