When I was a kid, this old Paramount movie aired frequently on KTLA/Channel 5 during my summer vacations from school. I loved watching 1943's SO PROUDLY WE HAIL. It's one of those old movies that made me ask my parents about history and, later, go to the library to get more information. SO PROUDLY WE HAIL was one of Hollywood's many World War 2 movies made when America was in that war. Those movies were mostly dramatic, they were patriotic and they were usually focused on men in war. SO PROUDLY WE HAIL focused on women serving overseas. They were military nurses. Our mother was a registered nurse. Dad served overseas. Both confirmed to little Bobby that, yes, there were nurses who served in the war. SO PROUDLY WE HAIL covers the Battle of Bataan. We see the heartbreak, humor and heroism of three nurses in the Philippines. Have you seen Goddard Hall on the New York University campus? Well, that building was named in honor of a SO PROUDLY WE HAIL star. Paulette Goddard got a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for playing one of the three military nurses who goes from hospital duty to Philippines jungle duty.
Is SO PROUDLY WE HAIL an excellent World War 2 film in a league with FROM HERE TO ETERNITY, BATTLEGROUND and 12 O'CLOCK HIGH? No. But it moves, you care about characters and there's the originality of it being an action-packed war film that's a female-driven story.
As a military nurse, Lake could not have worn her famous peek-a-boo hairdo while in uniform. However, Paramount's screenwriters did come up with a clever, intense and memorable way to work it into the action. Colbert is the top star, Goddard got the Oscar nomination, but it's the Veronica Lake act of valor scene that steals the picture.