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About Face (1952)

Approved | | Comedy, Musical, Romance | 3 November 1952 (UK)
Three friends enter military school together, but 2 of them don't know that the 3rd one is secretly married.



(screenplay), (play) | 1 more credit »

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Credited cast:
Tony Williams
Biff Roberts
Dick Wesson ...
Dave Crouse
Virginia Gibson ...
Betty Long
Alice Wheatley
Aileen Stanley Jr. ...
Lorna Carter
Col. Long
Cliff Ferre ...
Lt. Jones
John Baer ...
Hal Carlton
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Joe - Hal's Roommate (unconfirmed)


Biff Roberts, Tony Williams and Dave Crouse are upper classmen at Southern Military Institute (fictional school based on real school---Virginia Military Instute---in original play and film), and just three months away from graduating as commissioned officers in the U.S. Army. Williams and Crose have girl problems while Roberts, the star pitcher on the school's baseball team, has a different sort of problem, as he is secretly married and his co-ed wife is expecting a child. The other two also have the problem of keeping Roberts in school long enough to graduate and, more importantly, pitch in the BIG GAME of the year, all wrapped around seven musical numbers. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

3 November 1952 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Demi-tour à droite  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Film debut of Joel Grey. See more »


Version of Brother Rat (1938) See more »


No Other Girl For Me
Music by Peter De Rose
Lyrics by Charles Tobias
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Is This Military School or the Police Academy?
16 May 2010 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

It's sad that the classic Broadway and film comedy Brother Rat was turned into such a mediocre musical. With such an assembly of talent this film should have been far better than it was.

I believe the main problem with About Face is the musical score. Absolutely nothing memorable comes from the songs written by Peter DeRose and Charles Tobias. Maybe with a better score the film might have been better.

Gordon MacRae, Dick Wesson, and Eddie Bracken play the roles that Ronald Reagan, Wayne Morris, and Eddie Albert did in the film version of Brother Rat. The plot is essentially the same about three roommates at a military academy renamed inexplicably State Military Institute. Brother Rat on stage and screen is set at the real Virginia Military Institute. The three cadets get into all kinds of situations, but the main plot line involves Bracken who secretly married and the other two conspire to keep it a secret because the code of the academy says a cadet will be expelled for marrying. That's going to be hard since he married the commandant's daughter without her telling him her real name and relation to Commandant Larry Keating. And Virginia Gibson has something else arriving at the same time that the cadets graduate in June.

Two things struck me while watching About Face. First the whole subject of marriage would be dealt with far more severely in a serious vein in the John Ford classic The Long Grey Line a couple of years later. When young Robert Francis marries in that film, he resigns because of the West Point honor code. Apparently they don't have that at SMI, maybe that's the reason the real VMI was changed to the fictional SMI.

Secondly these cadets act like the police rookies in police academy. I swear the things that the cadets do to some of the authority figures were like what Steve Guttenberg was doing in the Police Academy films. I doubt their hijinks would go over at a real military school.

One bright thing about it was the debut of Joel Grey on the big screen playing the hapless freshman that the three upper classmen delight in tormenting. Just part of the hazing in these places. And lucky for Grey he had one musical number where he got to display his singing, dancing and mimicking talents. He does a really great impression of Jerry Lewis. Grey plays the role previously done by Ezra Stone on stage and William Tracy on screen and he's really great in the part.

About Face could have and should have been better with the talent that went into this film.

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