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West Point cadet Tex Mallory falls in love with Gene Baxter, a girl who sings with his brother's band. Even though it will mean his leaving the Academy, they decide to marry. But when brother Bob writes a patriotic ballad, Tex knows service to country must come before marriage. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
Although a young Alan Ladd appears in two dialogue scenes as a member of Bob Mallory's band, he is nowhere to be seen when the band is onstage playing. It was not uncommon for musical numbers to be filmed first, and Ladd could well have been hired after those scenes had been shot. See more »
This die-hard splurge of militaristic war-time propaganda, emanating from Hollywood's "B" mills, rises (or falls) to an incredible climax in which Shepperd Strudwick of all people (here masquerading under the sobriquet of "John Shepperd") sings a nauseously patriotic ditty entitled "Uncle Sam Gets Around." With a background of flag- waving banners, Strudwick then tells us that "It won't be fun, But it's got to be done It's a fight for the U.S.A., And the U.S. way!" This happy chorus continues merrily under the end credits which are superimposed over the same stock footage of West Point cadets marching into the camera, as are the opening titles. Despite this display of belligerence, Cadet Girl is not a gun-rattler at all, but a feeble musical comedy.
Actually, the film isn't quite as bad as its closing scenes like the one above; and the bit where the hero and heroine take their places on the reviewing stand to salute a massive stock footage parade of troops and weaponry. True, this stock material is skilfully integrated, despite some wobbly back projection evident when our principals take their leave of General Charles Trowbridge.
Anyway, what we have in Cadet Girl is nothing more than a mild comedy, interspersed with some even less memorable songs.
Stunningly photographed though she is, not all the artful camera positioning in the world can disguise the fact that Carole Landis is an indifferent actress. Even worse, hers is not a magnetic, star personality.
George Montgomery likewise fails to achieve any high standard as the piano-playing Mallory. (The camera is careful to record him from angles where his hands are obscured). The band- leader brother, played by Shepperd Strudwick, is even less impressive. In fact, Shepperd has what must easily rank as his wettest role ever in his wettest role ever in Cadet Girl.
William Tracy comes aboard for some forced bursts of comedy relief, but the rest of the cast can be spotted only in small roles. Janis Carter, for instance, has near-the-top billing, but is actually on-screen for less than ninety seconds. All she does is to sing indifferently three or four bars of some nondescript Robin- Rainger tune. Alan Ladd has a couple of close-ups and maybe fifteen words of dialogue as one of a trio of bandsmen who try to prevail upon Miss Landis to return. Matt McHugh, Grady Sutton and Irving Bacon contribute characteristic little sketches.
By "B" standards, production values are extensive, and technical credits with the one exception of a way-below-standard Robin- Rainger score slick.
Ray McCarey's direction incorporates one or two inventive touches he is the brother of Leo McCarey, after all like the use of stream of consciousness technique during the sequence in which Montgomery romances Landis. True, despite the innovation, the scene doesn't come off, but that wasn't McCarey's fault. The blame can be squarely laid on the charmless couple concerned, and the banality of their thoughts as scripted. Otherwise, McCarey's handling is strictly routine and ultra-conventionally "safe", appropriately matching the ho-hum nature of the plot and its tepid when not downright nauseating dialogue.
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