|Index||4 reviews in total|
5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Is This Military School or the Police Academy?, 16 May 2010
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
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.
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou?, 17 May 2010
Author: Kirk-Jusko from Cleveland, Ohio
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Not nearly as good as Brother Rat, the 1938 black-and-white movie (based on a play of the same name) from which it was remade. The humor is much too exaggerated, and it needn't be. The problems the three friends create for themselves should be funny enough. You don't need the added slapstick to musical accompaniment. I normally like Eddie Bracken, but I prefer Eddie Albert's more subtle take on the same character 14 years earlier. Besides, Bracken's looks too old to be a student. Actually, they ALL look too old, but Bracken could play someone's father. Joel Grey's musical number where he imitates Jerry Lewis is the best thing about this movie, even if it doesn't exactly service the plot. I also liked--I'm not sure if this is considered a spoiler or not so I checked the box just to be sure--Cliff Ferre's tap dance that closes out the movie.
5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Great musical comedy with unforgettable ensemble., 25 August 2002
Author: mojobates from San Diego, Ca.
I love this movie. It has everything a musical/comedy needs. After all these years I can still hear the songs and see the cast singing and playing the instruments. Joel Gray looks like a young boy in this movie. It might even have been his first role in a movie. As a child I watched this movie over and over again on the Million Dollar Movie in New York. They would play the movie all day long over and over again for a full week. I never got tired of it!
4 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Weak re-make, 4 January 2004
Author: dixie-18 from Danville, Virginia
This film is not bad, but a washed out version of "BROTHER RAT" (1938) that starred Ronald Reagan, Eddie Alber and Wayne Morris, three "rats" who are enrolled at Virginia Military Institute (VMI), a real place. There are never any freshmen at VMI, they are deemed "rats", and the bond between them usually is a lifelong one. This film is a black and white classic that is fondly screend at VMI, in Lexington, to this day.
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