Release year: 1989
Director: Steven Spielberg
Screenwriter: Jerry Belson, Dalton Trumbo, Frederick Hazlitt Brennan, Chandler Sprague and David Boehm (story ‘A Guy Named Joe)
Starring: Richard Dreyfuss, Holly Hunter, John Goodman, Brad Johnson, Audrey Hepburn, Roberts Blossom, Keith David, Dale Dye
Talented pilot Pete Sandich (Richard Dreyfuss) is an aerial forest-fire fighter together with best friend Al (John Goodman). Much to the dismay of the love of his life Dorinda (Holly Hunter), he is also something of a daredevil. When disaster strikes, Pete sees himself facing a task harder than any other.
Steven Spielberg’s (E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, 1982) re-make of the Oscar-winning A Guy Named Joe from 1943, is not treated as a scene-by-scene repeat of the Spencer Tracy movie, but like the reinventing of a romantic fantasy film about undying love. Collaborating once again with Dreyfuss, with whom he worked on both Jaws (1975) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), the movie is a romantic tale with fantasy elements and a strong sense of nostalgia. From the 1940s elegance of the dress Pete buys to Dorinda for her birthday to the use of The Platters ‘Smoke Gets in Your Eyes’, the movie seems to nod strongly to its predecessor, it even has the classy Hepburn (My Fair Lady, 1964) in her last starring role as a no-nonsense angel. Dreyfuss and Hunter (The Piano, 1993) share great chemistry and Goodman (Argo, 2012) plays the best friend so likable you can’t help wishing he was your best friend. The grandness of Dreyfuss means you are loyal enough to feel antipathy against Johnson (Left Behind, 2000) when he appears, though he has an undeniable sweetness and charm that eventual wins you over. Spielberg has always handled emotional movies well and Always is no exception. The story grips you straight away, thanks to well-written and well-played characters and will at times leave you a wreak as you follow the touching story. Always is by many mentioned has the weakest of Spielberg’s movies, but this melodramatic romance has a nostalgic sweetness over it that means it deserves to be recognized as the small romantic gem it is.
The tune Pete Sandich whistles when he’s nervous is an Irish tune titled “Garryowen”. This song was the official song of the Seventh Cavalry of the U.S. Army – General Custer’s cavalry.
Picture copyrights: UIP