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Felix E. Feist
When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again finds Allan Jones as a hero soldier on home with some well earned leave, not only from combat, but from a bond tour where shapely débutante Marla Shelton has been sticking to him like glue. He's a fighting man under his real name, Johnny Kovacs, but everybody knows him under the name of Johnny O'Toole when he was in his civilian occupation, singer with Phil Spitalny's band.
Coming home he finds that Phil Spitalny's whole orchestra is now women including new singer Jane Frazee. She's got a sister played by Gloria Jean who has a trio act going with Donald O'Connor and Peggy Ryan. O'Connor's mother Emma Dunn is Jones's former landlady and it's her place he considers home.
They don't know him as Johnny Kovacs the hero, they only know him as band singer Johnny O'Rourke who enlisted in the army. And somewhere along the line they all get the idea he's gone AWOL. It makes for bulk of the plot in this fast paced musical of the World War II years.
For those who aren't familiar Phil Spitalny's Orchestra in real life was an all female ensemble, very popular in the Thirties and Forties. Of course with women filling jobs in a lot of traditionally male roles, the gender of the orchestra's musicians was used for a nice gag.
Composers Gene DePaul and Don Raye wrote the bulk of the score as they did for a lot of musical products at Universal. But Allan Jones had the good sense to have the Howard Deitz-Arthur Schwartz classic You And The Night And The Music interpolated in the film. His singing it with Jane Frazee and Gloria Jean is the musical highlight of the film.
When Johnny Comes Marching Home is a pleasant, but dated wartime musical film. O'Connor and Ryan were teamed in several films in this era by Universal and are entertaining. And the Four Step Brothers do a nifty dance drill version of The American Patrol.
If you like films of this era or you love Allan Jones's voice as I do, you'll like When Johnny Comes Marching Home.
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