Beyond Glory

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Beyond Glory
Beyond Glory 1948 Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by John Farrow
Produced by Robert Fellows
Screenplay by
Music by Victor Young
Cinematography John F. Seitz
Edited by Eda Warren
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
  • August 3, 1948 (1948-08-03) (United States)
Running time
82 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Beyond Glory is a 1948 American drama film directed by John Farrow and starring Alan Ladd and Donna Reed.[1] Written by William Wister Haines, Jonathan Latimer, and Charles Marquis Warren, the film is about a former soldier who thinks he may have caused the death of his commanding officer in Tunisia. After visiting the officer's widow, they fall in love, and she encourages him to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point.

World War II hero Audie Murphy made his film debut in the small role of Ladd's academy roommate, Cadet Thomas.[2]


West Point cadet Rockwell "Rocky" Gilman is called before a hearing brought after an influential cadet, Raymond Denmore, Jr., is forced to leave the academy. Gilman has reported Denmore for lying to him during training, and in retaliation has been accused of bullying and hazing the dismissed cadet. Denmore's attorney, Lew Proctor, attacking the academy and its Honor Code system, declares that Gilman is unfit and possibly criminally liable. Gilman is confined to quarters by the academy superintendent and warned not to discuss the case with anyone. Consequently, he breaks a date his girlfriend Ann Daniels without explanation. The hearing resumes and Gilman's classmate, Eddie Loughlin, recounts how Gilman uncomplainingly withstood the rigors of academy training, especially during his plebe year, when he was still recovering from war wounds. Gilman takes the stand and testifies about his war experiences.

Unwillingly drafted in December 1941, he learned by bitter experience that all soldiers in combat must obey their superiors unquestioningly. As a result he applied for and completed officer candidate school. Gilman joined a unit going into combat in North Africa and became friends with both Loughlin and West Point graduate Lt. Harry Daniels. Daniels was killed in action and Gilman wounded during a battle in Tunisia, after which Gilman spent two years recovering in an Army hospital. Although awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for destroying an enemy tank during the action, Gilman turned down the medal. After his discharge from the Army, Gilman returned home to Brooklyn where he learned that his former sweetheart had married in his absence. Gilman changed jobs numerous jobs before realizing that he cannot adjust to civilian life. On the evening of V-E Day, as the city celebrated, Gilman became depressed, feeling that people were dancing on the graves of countless soldiers, and instead went to see Daniels' family and his widow Ann.

John Craig, a nurse at the hospital where Gilman was treated, then testifies that Gilman suffers from nightmares but refuses to discuss what troubles him. When given a drug to help him reveal his feelings, Gilman disclosed that during the battle Daniels ordered Gilman's platoon to counter-attack at a specific hour but Gilman inexplicably delayed the attack for three minutes, resulting in Daniels' death. Gilman was unable to explain the delay and believes himself a coward. Called back to the stand, Gilman concedes Proctor's charge that he deliberately disobeyed orders but refuses to discuss it. Proctor demands his immediate court-martial, but the superintendent insists that Rocky be given time to consider his testimony. That night Gilman receives a note from Ann saying she is going away and breaks quarters to go to New York. Gilman tells Ann that he has decided to resign from the academy and go with her. Ann refuses to accept the decision and insists that he return to confront his accusers. The next day, Gilman's adoptive father, Pop Dewing, brings three witnesses to the hearing to support his son.

The first, Ann, recalls that when she first met met him on V-E day, Gilman shocked her with a confession that he caused her husband's death. Realizing that he is tortured by misplaced guilt, she took him to a West Point ceremony commemorating Daniels' death. Ann realized that she has feelings for Gilman and was told by her mother-in-law that in his last letter, Harry said that if he should be killed, he wanted Ann to have a normal life. Encouraged by Ann, Gilman was admitted to West Point as a cadet, continuing to see her, but she remained unsure if he ever intended to marry her. When he cancelled their date, Ann intended to break off their relationship until he told her of his decision to resign. The next witness, the Army physician who administered the therapeutic drug, testifies that after reviewing Gilman's medical records, he realizes that there is a gap in his memory of the battle. Finally a soldier from Gilman's platoon testifies that while Gilman was leading the unit to make the counterattack, it was ambushed by a German tank concealed in a grove. Gilman was knocked unconscious by an explosion and when he recovered shortly after, was unaware that he was ever unconscious. Gilman was mortified to discover that the specified time of attack had passed and that Daniels had been killed, but because he refused to discuss the incident, he never learned about the concussion that created the delay. Hearing the testimony, Gilman's accuser admits that he lied about Gilman's conduct during training, and the hearing is closed. Later, General Dwight D. Eisenhower speaks at the West Point graduation, with Gilman among the proud graduates.



The reviewer in The New York Times called the film "a manful effort to extol the martial virtues and to defend the Academy against its detractors."[3] The reviewer continues:

Ladd's performance is unrelievedly granite-jawed, but under the influence of Academy discipline, the granite is highly polished. Donna Reed, his leading woman, is creditably restrained in her depiction of a war widow. Coulouris' attack on Ladd and West Point is so unnecessarily malignant that one might almost suspect him of being an Annapolis man. As director, John Farrow has sometimes underlined the emotional content of the scenario unduly, but his technique of integrating flash-backs and present action is masterfully smooth.[3]


  1. ^ a b "Beyond Glory (1948)". The New York Times. Retrieved September 10, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Beyond Glory". Audie L. Murphy Memorial Website. Retrieved September 10, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "' Beyond Glory,' Story of West Point Starring Alan Ladd". The New York Times. Retrieved September 10, 2012. 

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