Good Luck, Mr. Yates (1943) Poster

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Never tell a kid a lie
Chris (Asgardian)13 April 2007
A mild teacher at a military school for young boys is keen to elevate himself to hero status by enlisting to fight in WW2. However he is refused entry due to a perforated ear drum, a condition about which he sees an eminent doctor, who assures him that with care, and a little time, is curable.

Due to his enlistment being just postponed, in his eyes, he tells what he believes to be a small lie, telling his former students he has been accepted and is in Army training. He thinks this will be of no consequence because he will soon be accepted.

Guess again, the results of even just one harmless lie lead to chaos in his temporary job at the shipbuilding yards, the military school, his boarding house, the FBI, the military and police.

Claire Trevor's presence is a joy to watch as the love interest, while the rest of the cast are competent.

Another hard to find movie that is worth the time to search for.
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Gosh, And We Thought You Wuz A Buck Private!
Robert J. Maxwell12 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I don't know what ever happened to Jess Barker, who is Mr. Yates. In this story of a man whose war-time enlistment is rejected because of a faulty ear drum (the same disability that kept Frank Sinatra out of the draft) and who lies to a bunch of kids about it, and then gets a job building ships in the defense industry, and then is found out by the children and scoffed at before all is resolved to his advantage, Jess Barker strides through the movie looking very much like a suitable replacement for all the Hollywood actors who were actually off somewhere, wearing uniforms, if not actually holding weapons, and on top of that, it may be that this is the longest sentence ever written in any language, not including German.

Jess Barker is tall enough and looks handsome in a conventional way, at least to the straight eye, and has a deep and precise voice, rather like Alan Ladd's. Yet his career never seemed to go anywhere. Unless I'm getting him mixed up with the guy who played Davy Crockett on TV. O, Fortuna! The movie begins with Barker teaching at a military academy for grade-school kids, among them, Scotty Beckett, whose career may or may not have gone anywhere but whose real life resembled a roller coaster whose tracks ended in mid-air. Well, Beckett really LIKES the stern but fair Mr. Yates.

Barker is told by his friendly German doctor that his ear problem may be fixed but the outcome is problematic. If the treatment works, Barker will enlist within a week. Barker is as happy as a pig in mud, resigns his teaching post and moves to the city, where he takes a temporary job as a ship builder. In order not to disappoint his school kids, he has his letters to them forwarded from a nearby Army base. The treatment does not work. Barker is stuck at the ship yard. With the help of the villainous and jealous Tom Neal, whose real life also followed a very interesting trajectory, the kids soon find out about the sham enlistment and disown Barker. (Sob.) I wouldn't -- excuse me, I'm all choked up and I'm having difficulty typing because this keyboard is awash in tears -- I wouldn't give up the ending of this film for all the tea in China.

I didn't find the movie to be entirely without interest. The subject is the mystique of the uniform. It seems dated now, but in 1943 it was to a considerable extent the measure of a man. Every REAL MAN was supposed to be in the Armed Forces. If he wasn't, some accounting was in order. John Wayne, who was already in his mid-30s and had a couple of kids, was exempt from the draft. An attempt to gain a commission in the Marine Corps fell through and he gave up the idea of joining, arguing that he could do more for the country by making patriotic movies than by picking up cigarette butts at some Army camp. He was certainly right -- the public adored him -- but he suffered immeasurably at the hands of his favorite director, John Ford. The consequences of remaining a civilian in 1943 were real enough.

The kids, on the other hand, are a nuisance. And the contingencies of the plot must be stretched like a rubber band to get poor well-intentioned Barker into far more trouble than he deserves. And it's all the fault of that Tom Neal guy, with his black mustache, frown, and hypothetical imperatives.
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Bizarre censorship
Malcolm Redfellow17 January 2008
A pretty average wartime movie, but one that gets a mention in Tim Pat Coogan's biography of "De Valera: Long Fellow, Long Shadow".

In 1943, as Prime Minister of Eire, De Valera, made a famous/an infamous St Patrick's Day broadcast to celebrate "The Ireland Which We Dreamed Of": "cosy farmsteads, ... fields and villages ... joyous with sounds of industry, with the romping of sturdy children, the contests of athletic youths and the laughter of comely maidens, whose firesides would be forums for the wisdom of serene old age."

This fantasy (remembering what was going on at Stalingrad, North Africa, the Battle of the Atlantic and Guadancanal) provoked the US Minister in Dublin, David Gray, to write to President Roosevelt: "Meanwhile the Censor is loose again. The American flag was recently cut out of a film called 'Good luck Mr. Yates' ... Meanwhile I am surrounded by mountains of turf, some two hundred and fifty thousand tons, all brought from the interior with American gasoline. If I go nuts can you blame me?"
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