A Star Athlete is a charming, although rather slight, comedy with dark undertones. The title is actually a little misleading. I started watching the movie expecting it to be a sports movie, but it's actually quite different. There really isn't much of a plot--rather it is a series of incidents that occur to a group of college boys who are in the countryside conducting a series of military style exercises. There is an athletic rivalry between two characters, some comic encounters with townies and even a couple references to Merlene Dietrich and Gary Cooper. Mostly the tone is very light but a dark undercurrent is introduced when one character becomes involved with a prostitute. Also, history has added an undercurrent of its own. Near the end of the movie, the boys cheer when they learn that one of them has been drafted and they all march off singing patriotic songs. Considering the misery caused by the Japanese army during the 30's and 40's, and the suffering that the Japanese soldiers themselves endured, it is hard not to watch those scenes, or even the whole movie itself, without experiencing a sense of tragic irony.
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