From 1947, James Stewart will watch for the FBI his comrades suspected of Communist sympathies. But the guilt will eat away at him ... The actor will express his torments and neuroses in Anthony Mann's westerns, including "I am an adventurer", which airs Wednesday, May 12 on OCS Géants.
By the end of the 1940s, the heroes were tired. A patriot who became a pilot at the same time he was training in Hollywood, James Stewart (1908-1997) naturally enlisted in the military when the United States entered the war. Chief of staff at the head of a squadron of bombers, he carried out twenty missions over the territories occupied by the Reich and flew over, bombarding, Nazi Germany. Of the loss of his men and of the guilt of having caused deaths among civilians, he will never speak, constrained by his modesty and his education.
But his return to earth in 1945 tasted bitter. Far from the boy-scout idealism displayed in Mr Smith in the Senate (1939), the actor is struggling to renew himself on the big screen. The reunion with Frank Capra in La vie est belle (1946) ended, before this tale became a classic, in a public failure. Disillusioned, Jimmy tries his luck by going on stage to play, in Harvey (the play will be adapted for the cinema in 1950 by Henry Koster), an alcoholic whose best friend is a giant rabbit. A reporter for the New York Times then headlines: "The Rise and Fall of James Stewart." Which would later say: "I couldn't continue to play those kinds of roles, it had gone on long enough. I had to get tough. "