Hypochondriac Danny Weems gets drafted into the army and makes life miserable for his fellow GIs. He's also lovesick when it comes to pretty Mary Morgan, unaware that she's in love with his...
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Loring "Red" Nichols is a cornet-playing country boy who goes to New York in the 1920s full of musical ambition and principles. He gets a job playing in Wil Paradise's band, but quits to ... See full summary »
Barbara Bel Geddes,
Ventriloquist Jerry Morgan has to see another love affair fail. The reason: when the relationship reaches the point when it is time to discuss marriage, his doll Clarence becomes mean and ... See full summary »
Jacobowsky, a Jewish refugee, flees from the Nazis with an aristocratic, anti-semitic Polish officer trying to get papers to England. Jurgens learns to appreciate Kaye, despite their ... See full summary »
Princess Margaret is travelling incognito to elope with her true love instead of marrying the man her father has betrothed her to. On the high seas, her ship is attacked by pirates who know... See full summary »
Hypochondriac Danny Weems gets drafted into the army and makes life miserable for his fellow GIs. He's also lovesick when it comes to pretty Mary Morgan, unaware that she's in love with his best friend Joe. Written by
Daniel Bubbeo <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Other reviewers have noted that "Up in Arms" was the first major movie that launched Danny Kaye's star. It certainly is a foretaste of the versatile Kaye's many talents. It includes a couple tongue-twister sequences, a couple of other language impersonations, and just a little song and dance. But, none of these are at the accomplished level Kaye would reach and show in films that followed. What he is good at in this career opener, he is fantastic at in films such as "The Inspector General" of 1949, "On the Riviera" of 1951, "Knock on Wood" of 1954, and "The Court Jester" of 1955.
Venues to showcase talents like Kaye don't have to have great plots. Films such as this are good and enjoyable just for the entertainment of the star or stars. But, when films also have interesting stories, they often click better and enhance the viewing enjoyment. At least I find that so in Kaye films. With much better scripts in those later movies, he moved more naturally and smoothly into his tongue twisters, impersonations, or song and dance numbers.
"Up in Arms" doesn't have a very solid plot. So, it seemed to me a number of times that the producers forced the next Kaye sequence on us. Like an old-fashioned entertainment break between scenes in an otherwise not-too-good stage show. Those few who praise this film as among Kaye's best had best watch again those films I named above. His impersonations, tongue twisters, and song and dance advanced remarkably in just a few years as he perfected his talents in each of these fields. Still, it is his comic performance alone that earns this movie seven stars in my book. Dinah Shore's singing supported the film some, but otherwise I think the cast was lackluster. Dana Andrews had more than a dozen movies under his belt, and would rise to become a leading man and male co-star in many films of the late 1940s and 1950s. But, he did not fit in comedies or musicals. He's clearly out of place here.
One other thing that struck me, with the rich Technicolor for such an early film, was the makeup worn by the ladies. In the musical scene with everyone boarding a ship, all the WAC nurses line up along the ship railing. As the camera pans their pretty faces, their heavy use of makeup really stands out. That may have been a sign of the times, and I appreciate the lesser use of pancake makeup in modern days. Our sharp lenses and cameras can give us very close shots that show the natural beauty of the human face. I think the pancake would be obvious and not very enticing.
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