In WWI dancer Jerry Jones stages an all-soldier show on Broadway, called Yip Yip Yaphank. Wounded in the war, he becomes a producer. In WWII his son Johnny Jones, who was before his ... See full summary »
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In WWI dancer Jerry Jones stages an all-soldier show on Broadway, called Yip Yip Yaphank. Wounded in the war, he becomes a producer. In WWII his son Johnny Jones, who was before his father's assistant, gets the order to stage a new all-soldier show, called This is the Army. But in his personal life he has problems, because he refuses to marry his fiancée until the war is over. Written by
Stephan Eichenberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
During the "God Bless America" sequence, Kate Smith barrels up to the microphone and her dubbed-in voice is heard to say "It is my happy privilege to introduce a new song: 'God Bless America'" If you read her lips, however, she actually says the words "new tune." See more »
In the Credits, the cast members are listed in the following order: first the members, who never served in World War II, than the members of the US Armed Forces, starting with Lt. Ronald Reagan. See more »
Great in 1943, today it's just a bit of a curiosity
This is the type of musical that Hollywood did best and it sure was popular with the public. However, 65 years later, the film has lost much of its appeal due to changes in movie styles as well as the fact that the film's value as a propaganda tool is now lost--after all, the war has been over since 1945. So what was rousing and exciting then to the folks at home now just seems rather dated and slow--though the film still does have very good production values.
The film is basically a bazillion patriotic songs rolled up into the thinnest of plots. Frankly, I think the film could have been a lot better had the story received greater emphasis and they'd dropped a few musical numbers. This would have given the film a much needed infusion of energy--though again, back during the war years, this wasn't as big a concern.
The story, such as it is, begins during WWI. A group of soldiers (George Murphy, Alan Hale, George Tobias and Charles Butterworth and others) are interested in performing a musical to raise morale and the when they are given permission, the show is a huge hit. Many years later, when WWII arrives, the children of these same men and others put on their new and timely stage show. It's a major success and the soldiers are sent on a tour of the USA to increase the public's patriotism and backing of the war. There's a little more to the plot than this--but not much.
As I said, it's really just an excuse to string together tons of musical and dance numbers--so many that you feel a bit overwhelmed. Some of the numbers are very good, the one with Irving Berlin was interesting (not good--just interesting from a historical sense) and a few were rather bad. The worst was the one that was a minstrel show--something that you'd hoped would have died out by 1943. It was just embarrassing and makes you cringe. Also, in a few separate parts of the film, Joe Lewis made some irrelevant appearances, as he couldn't sing and was as light on his dancing feet as a rhino! He just looked very lost but you can't blame him--he was ordered to appear in the film and since he was a sergeant, he had no choice!
If I could, I'd give the film a score for 1943 (8) and one for today (4 or 5). But, since I can't, I'll give it a 6. Interesting from a historical standpoint but pretty tough going at times, though some of the songs were catchy and the color cinematography was lovely.
As a history teacher, I was a bit concerned with a couple reviews that gave the film a 1. It wasn't nearly that bad and some of the reasons they gave it such a low score seemed petty. One was a diatribe about why they hated Ronald Reagan and really didn't review the film itself. Another was very critical about how the film was propaganda. My answer to that is YES it is propaganda and so what?! Given that it was a life and death struggle for survival in WWII only a knucklehead would see this sort of propaganda as an evil! Should Hollywood have either ignored the war or done pro-Hitler films instead?! Read your history books or talk to some vets before you make such silly assertions.
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