Up and coming, young lawyer Anthony Lawrence faces several ethical and emotional dilemmas as he climbs the Philadelphia social ladder. His personal and professional skills are tested as he ... See full summary »
Honest and hard-working Texas rancher Homer Bannon has a conflict with his unscrupulous, selfish, arrogant and egotistical son Hud, who sank into alcoholism after accidentally killing his brother in a car crash.
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Harry Bannerman, a Connecticut suburbanite who becomes involved in various shenanigans with his wife Grace Oglethorpe, leads a protest movement against a secret army plan to set up a missile base in their community. Written by
'Boojum' is a term coined by Lewis Carroll, and first appears in his poem, "The Hunting of the Snark". The 'Snark' (SM-62) was a surface-to-surface missile (a large cruise missile) used by the US military. Given the presence of a missile base in the film, it is likely that the term, 'Boojum', was used to make the connection with the real missile. See more »
During long shots of the mock-up of the Mayflower approaching the Fourth of July pageant by ocean, the ship is clearly far out at sea. But in close-ups, foliage from nearby land can be seen just a few feet away. See more »
A couple of reviewers noted that they felt sorry for Paul Newman's character in "Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys." I had the same sense at times. Newman's Harry Bannerman is a picture of sympathy much of the time. One can imagine Rock Hudson, Fred MacMurray or Cary Grant in that role. None of them would be likely to garner our sympathy. And they shouldn't. They would have us laughing at the predicament they were in and how they handled it. Sure, they would be just as innocent as Newman is. But they would have played the role for the comedy, where Newman's character can't seem to do that. But it may not be all his failing. I suspect it was a combination miscue involving screen writing, acting and directing.
I think Newman is capable of comedy he later shows a knack for some simple and sophisticated humor ("The Sting," "Slap Shot," and in the Western crime and biopic, "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid"). But as at least one other reviewer noted, he's not suited for the farcical. For that matter, neither is Joanne Woodward. A couple others said they didn't like her character. I think it would have been fine -- if she had made it funny. Woodward was an excellent dramatic actress. She won an Oscar for "The Three Faces of Eve," and received three more nominations. But her comedic abilities were limited to the witty and wry dialog type nothing with mayhem and farce. Other reviewers talked about the humor in the novel by Max Shulman that this movie is based on, and the absence of so many good and witty lines in the film.
Jack Carson helped pick the film up some as an incompetent Army officer, Captain Hoxie. Carson was a first-rate supporting actor who often had considerable roles in movies. His film persona reminds me of Bud Abbott a straight man who always seems serious, and whom others can play off with such great humor. Carson was an intelligent actor who knew he wasn't going to get male leads. He played his characters to the hilt. Carson died of cancer at age 52. Had he lived longer, he might have garnered an Oscar for a comedy or dramatic supporting role. Other fine supporting actors earned greater recognition for their talents in their later years. Examples are Hume Cronyn and Harry Morgan.
This film has a couple of very funny scenes, but nothing more. Others have noted the silliness of the plot toward the end. I don't have a problem with that comedy is comedy, of whatever degree of foolishness, farce, fantasy and silliness. But, it really should be funny. Regrettably, "Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys" doesn't have what it takes. Newman and Woodward were at the peak of their careers and popularity at the time, so the studio (20th Century Fox) probably thought they could do no wrong. Maybe fan appeal would be enough.
The film had a considerable budget for 1958, at nearly $1.9 million. It made money but it didn't set the world on fire back then either. The box office take was reported at $3.4 million.
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