There are many books about the war, but none like Mr. Winkle Goes to War. Out of great tragedy mankind distills great humor, and here Theodore Pratt makes a bid for this distinction with a story that is full of wise charm, deep understanding, and chuckling entertainment.
Wilbert Winkle, at 44, runs up against the Army when men of that age were still being drafted. He had believed himself a member in good standing of the lost generation between rounds of the world war, too young for the first session and too old for the second. To his considerable surprise and perturbation, Mr. Winkle, a mild, timid little man, myopic, of no great muscularity, and afraid to death of guns or violence of any sort, finds himself a soldier sent overseas to fight.
The year is 1942: Mr. Winkle Edward G. Robinson, a mild-mannered bank clerk, decides to quit his job and open a fix-it shop in his garage. Winkle's wife Amy Ruth Warrick disapproves of this, and orders her husband to move into his little shop. Tired of being browbeaten, Winkle is delighted when his draft notice shows up. Fitted for a uniform, Winkle has the wind taken out of his sails in basic training, but soon finds that army life agrees with him; when given a chance to go home when the draft age is lowered to 38, he refuses to do so. Transferred to the South Pacific, Winkle instinctively performs a conspicuous act of bravery. He returns home a much-decorated hero, but he's too shy to partake in the ceremonies in his honor, opting instead to return to his shop, and to his now-loving wife Amy. A tailor-made Edward G. Robinson vehicle, Mr. Winkle Goes to War was adapted by Waldo Salt, George Corey and Louis Solomon from a novel by Theodore Pratt. Watch for Robert Mitchum, Hugh Beaumont and Miss Jeff Donnell in unbilled bits.
Running time: 80 minutes
Edward G. Robinson as Wilbert G. Winkle
Ruth Warrick as Amy Winkle
Ted Donaldson as Barry
Robert Armstrong as Joe Tinker
Richard Lane as Sergeant "Alphabet" Czeidrowski
Bob Haymes as Jack Pettigrew, another, younger bank employee also drafted
Richard Gaines as Ralph Westcott
Art Smith as Mr. McDavid
Robert Mitchum and Hugh Beaumont have uncredited roles.
This is very classic comedy from beginning to end. However, it's so much more. It's the tale of a man who is able to do what he never thought he could in the face of wartime. About doing the right thing. The acting, the writing, and the story is one you shouldn't miss.
Theodore Pratt (1901 - 1969) was an American writer who is best known for his novels set in Florida. He was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1901 to Thomas A. and Emma Pratt. The family later moved to New Rochelle, New York, where Theodore attended high school. After completing high school, he attended Colgate University for two years, and then Columbia University for another two years, but did not graduate. He worked in New York City as a play reader, a staff reader for a movie company, and a columnist for the New York Sun. He also free-lanced articles for The New Yorker and other national magazines.
Theodore Pratt published more than thirty novels, including four mysteries under the pseudonym of "Timothy Brace", two collections of short stories, two plays (adapted from his novels), a few non-fiction books and pamphlets, and numerous short stories and articles in periodicals such as Esquire, Blue Book, Escapade, The Gent, Manhunt, Guilty Detective Story Magazine, Coronet, Fantastic Universe, Space Science Fiction, and The Saturday Evening Post. Some of his novels had strong sexual content by the standards of the time. The Tormented (1950), a study of nymphomania, was turned down by thirty-four publishers. It eventually sold more than a million copies. Five of his works were made into feature motion pictures.