William Holden plays an infantry Sergeant in Italy during World War II. He falls for a WAC Lieutenant, played by Nancy Olson. With his thoughts on his future with her, Holden proves reluctant to take risks on the battlefield. This leads to the death of his friend, a fellow officer, and lands him in the hospital. His injury grants him a ticket back to the states, but his guilty conscience forces him to rejoin his unit.
Holden and Olson are fine and director Michael Curtiz lends the battlefield scenes a dirty verisimilitude. But the ample amount of spliced stock footage and underdressed sets betray an undersized budget. During one scene, Holden and Olsen drink at a table in front of a large mural of the Naples cityscape. Except it’s not meant to be a mural, but the actual cityscape, and it’s not fooling anyone. Such moments of obvious artifice detract from what’s otherwise a solid melodrama.
The Watch TCM stream appears upscaled from a standard definition source bearing the 1954 re-release title A Girl for Joe.