A shallow society matron is urged by her senator father to join the Women's Army Corps.A shallow society matron is urged by her senator father to join the Women's Army Corps.A shallow society matron is urged by her senator father to join the Women's Army Corps.
This might have been a script offered to Katharine Hepburn, but Hepburn never really got as physical in her comedy films as Rosalind Russell does here. Still the part of socialite daughter of a United States Senator would normally have been something Hepburn might have done. Yet Russell makes the part all her own.
Russell's a bit of a snob and her father Charles Dingle well knows it. During a party where her ex-husband, Paul Douglas, crashes she meets another socialite friend who has just got a commission in the Woman's Army Corps. Russell's current boyfriend is another commissioned officer from public relations, William Ching, borrowed from an Ad agency. He's been assigned to NATO headquarters in Paris.
Of course dear old dad will pull some strings and make her an officer and a lady. Except Charles Dingle doesn't want to do it. He says let her in as a buck private and it takes a bit of getting used to before Russell realizes she's not a VIP on the base. And when Douglas who is a scientist doing work for the army arrives on her base the fun really starts.
Roz has some good physical scenes, check out the one where she and other WACS are part of a Douglas experiment in arctic conditions. They're not as physical as the ones in Private Benjamin, still Russell gets ample opportunity to display her comic timing.
There's also a nice subplot involving Marie Wilson, a stripper who joins the WACs and falls for Sergeant Leif Erickson.
Charles Dingle is always one of my favorite character actors and it was really nice to see him as a good guy for a change. He's either a nasty villain like in Edge of Darkness or he's a pompous horse's rear like in Welcome Stranger. He's neither in this film, just a nice down to earth man who happens to be a United States Senator and not pleased with the snobbish ways of his daughter.
Obviously because he believed in getting more women in the Armed Services, the then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Omar N. Bradley made a guest appearance as himself. He has a moment when calls about Russell's status reach his ears and he refers them to his good friend Senator Dingle who's on a fishing trip.
Never Wave At A WAC though eclipsed somewhat for the current past two generations by Private Benjamin still has a lot of laughs. And it's a great introduction to one of the best and most versatile stars from the age of studio Hollywood, Rosalind Russell.
- Jul 2, 2007