Kings Row, 1942

Starring Robert Cummings as Parris Mitchell, Ronald Reagan as Drake McHugh, and Ann Sheridan as Randy Monaghan, Kings Row was nominated for three Oscars: Best Cinematography of a Black and White film, Best Director, and Best Picture.

Drake and Parris grow up in a small town with the intention of staying best friends for life. The trust and innocence of childhood shields them from the darkness lurking in their own hometown.

Having aspirations to become a doctor, Parris is grateful for the opportunity to study under the father of his girlfriend Cassie. He wonders about Cassie’s secretive family, but can’t get too nosy or he’ll risk losing his teacher.

Turn of the century medicine draws Parris to study in Vienna. But back home, Drake has plans to become a businessman in the field of real estate as soon as his inheritance is paid. His plans are hindered by two men attacking from different areas of his life. Parris worries about his friend and hurries home from Vienna. He hopes he can use his new medical skills to help him.

This film shows the two young boys growing into men and the changes that take place as their naiveté and big plans are destroyed. Questions pile on top of each other as the story unfolds. And like every good story, the answers stay hidden until the end.

I enjoyed the happy-go-lucky Drake with his confident, boyish tongue clicks. Parris was the picture of manners and compassion. Ann Sheridan and Ronald Reagan are the stars of this film. Both produce stunning performances.

Twenty-three years later, Ronald Reagan used one of the lines from this film as the title of his 1965 autobiography, Where’s the Rest of Me?

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