Bright Victory

Bright Victory is a 1951 film, adapted by Robert Buckner from Baynard Kendrick's novel Lights Out. It was directed by Mark Robson, and it stars Arthur Kennedy, Peggy Dow, Julie Adams, James Edwards, Will Geer, Nana Bryant, Jim Backus, and Rock Hudson.


Set during World War II, it is the story of Larry Nevins, an American sergeant blinded by a German sniper while fighting in North Africa. He is taken back to the United States and put into a hospital for other blinded soldiers, where he struggles to come to terms with his disability. While Larry quickly adapts physically, the difficulty of forging relationships unknowing of race, creed, or appearance takes its toll. He forges close friendships with Joe Morgan, another blinded veteran, and with Judy, a bank teller in town who has befriended him.

One day Larry, unaware that Joe is black, makes a denigrating remark about African Americans. This causes a huge rift between Larry and the other men and makes him reconsider his attitudes towards race and friendship. Meanwhile, he progresses well in his recovery, passing a crucial test to see how well he can handle himself on the street. He is cleared for furlough, so on the eve of departure, Judy takes him for a visit to her sister's cabin. There, Larry learns of a very successful lawyer who is blind and this gives him hope for the future. After dinner, he and Judy talk and her love for him is revealed. He tells her that he needs more security and that he already has a fiancee at home.

Somewhat dispirited, he goes home for his furlough and has a rough time dealing with the racial attitudes of his Southern family and friends. His fiancee's family is having doubts about his fitness as a son-in-law and his parents are downcast because of his disability. Larry is happy to see his fiancee, Chris, though he is haunted by the thought of Judy. After a bad experience at the party welcoming him home, he talks with Chris and details the difficulties they can expect to face with his disability. He is passionate and driven about creating a new life and getting a job on his own merit. Chris asks for time to think about it and eventually tells Larry that she isn't strong enough to leave the security of her hometown as Larry struggles to make a new life for both of them.

Larry, disappointed, returning to the hospital, takes a side trip into Philadelphia and meets the famous lawyer who had given him hope. The lawyer tells him that life as a blind professional is difficult, but worth it and that his wife was an invaluable helpmeet to him. Pondering this, Larry waits at the train station and while waiting, is unexpectedly reunited with Judy. They joyfully declare their mutual love and make plans for the future before Larry has to board the train.

While boarding, he hears Joe Morgan's name called. He catches Joe's arm, apologizes to him for all the hurt he caused him and asks if they can be friends. Joe accepts the apology and, reunited, the two friends board the train and sit together as it pulls out of the station.


Nominated for Academy Awards for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Arthur Kennedy) and Best Sound, Recording.


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