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This Is the Army (1943) - Plot Summary Poster

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Summaries

  • 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.


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The synopsis below may give away important plot points.

Synopsis

  • In 1917 during World War I, song-and-dance man Jerry Jones (George Murphy) is drafted into the US Army, where he stages a revue called Yip Yip Yaphank. It is a rousing success, but one night during the show orders are received to leave immediately for France: instead of the finale, the troops march up the aisles through the audience, out the theater's main entrance and into a convoy of waiting trucks. Among the teary, last-minute goodbyes Jones kisses his newlywed bride Ethel (Rosemary DeCamp) farewell.

    In the trenches of France, several of the soldiers in the production are killed or wounded by shrapnel from a German artillery barrage. Jones is wounded in the leg and must walk with a cane, ending his career as a dancer. Nevertheless, he is resolved to find something useful to do, especially now that he is the father of a son. Sgt. McGee (Alan Hale, Sr.) and Pvt. Eddie Dibble (Charles Butterworth), the troop bugler, also survive.

    25 later in present day 1943, World War II is raging in Europe. Jerry's son Johnny (Ronald Reagan) enlists in the Army shortly after Pearl Harbor. He tells his sweetheart Eileen Dibble (Joan Leslie) that they cannot marry until he returns, since he doesn't want to make her a widow.

    Johnny reluctantly accepts an order to stage another musical, following in his father's footsteps. The show goes on tour throughout the United States and eventually plays Washington, D.C., in front of President Roosevelt (Jack Young).

    Note: the bulk of the film features the musical production numbers nearly back-to-back with the backstage drama going on. The musical numbers are listed as in 'Yip Yip Yaphank':

    "It's Your Country and My Country"

    "My Sweetie"

    "Poor Little Me"

    "We're On Our Way to France"

    "Goodbye, France"

    "God Bless America" (sung by Kate Smith)

    The 'This is the Army' musical numbers are:

    "What Does He Look Like"

    "This Is The Army, Mr. Jones"

    "I'm Getting Tired So I Can Sleep"

    "Mandy"

    "Ladies of the Chorus"

    "That's What the Well Dressed Man in Harlem Will Wear"

    "How About a Cheer for the Navy"

    "I Left My Heart at the Stage Door Canteen"

    "With My Head in the Clouds/American Eagles"

    "Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning"

    "This Time"

    "My British Buddy" (sung personally by Irving Berlin)

    During the show it is announced that this is the last performance: the soldiers in the production have been ordered back to their combat units.

    Eileen, who has joined the Red Cross auxiliary, appears backstage. During a break in the show she brings a minister and convinces Johnny that they should marry now - which they do, in the alley behind the theater, with their fathers acting as witnesses.

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