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The Human Comedy

Country: USA

Genre: Coming of Age, Drama, Family



In the early 40s, whilst his older brother Marcus is away fighting in the war, teenager Homer Macauley (Mickey Rooney) stays at home in small-town Ithaca in California, working as a telegraph boy in order to support his family, including his little brother, Ulysses (Jackie Jenkins).


  • Based on a story by William Saroyan (1908-1981), who was hired by MGM to write a screenplay for, and also to direct, the projected movie. However, when Louis B. Mayer baulked at the projected movie's length, Saroyan refused to compromise, and so was fired from the film project. Saroyan wrote his 1943 novel of the same name from the film script he had already written, and the novel was published about a month before the film's official première. The film won Saroyan the 1944 Academy Award for Best Story. Saroyan's novel would later be adapted for the film Ithaca (2015).
  • The Profile picture on this page is a detail of a candid shot from the movie production, showing Jackie Jenkins (left) on Mickey Rooney's knee.
Picture for The Human Comedy


BoyActors Reviews

3 member reviews/ratings for this Movie

Average and Weighted Ratings are only available once a Movie has received at least 5 ratings

Most recent review listed first

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My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 9 / 10
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Saroyan's novel was a mixture of humorous vignettes on the one hand, and endless homilies delivered by the adults to Homer (and occassionally even to Ulysses), on the other - homilies which are packed with a lot of woolly uplift, and contain lines such as 'love is immortal, hate dies every minute' that are essentially meaningless. Unfortunately, this film has chosen to go mainly with the latter aspect of Saroyan's story. The raid on the apricot tree has mercifully been included (a superb performance by Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer - who is definitely the best thing in this movie, despite being denied a credit). But it is a pity that we don't get (for example) Ulysses caught in the animal trap. Saroyan's novel was hardly a masterpiece, with its cast of two-dimensional, goody-two-shoes characters, but by placing its emphasis on the already excessive sentimentality of the novel, and cutting back on the humorous content, the film becomes something of a two-hour endurance test. Perhaps still worth watching for the two or three good scenes. Mickey Rooney does his best as always with the material he's given. Jackie Jenkins is a charmer in the scenes in which he appears.

My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 4 / 10
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My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 6 / 10
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Page Last Modified: 27th July 2018
Page Added: 18th July 2018

Page Views: 1664

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