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Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys! (1958)

Approved | | Comedy | February 1959 (USA)
All about the citizens of Putnam's Landing and their reactions to an army missile base in their back yard.

Director:

Leo McCarey

Writers:

Claude Binyon (screenplay), Leo McCarey (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Paul Newman ... Harry Bannerman
Joanne Woodward ... Grace Bannerman
Joan Collins ... Angela Hoffa
Jack Carson ... Capt. Hoxie
Dwayne Hickman ... Grady Metcalf
Tuesday Weld ... Comfort Goodpasture
Gale Gordon ... Brig. Gen. W.A. Thorwald
Tom Gilson ... Corporal Opie
O.Z. Whitehead ... Isaac Goodpasture
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Storyline

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 alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

20th Century-Fox hilariously declares a national laugh holiday...as the cast of the year brings the # 1 fun best-seller howlingly alive! See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

February 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Leo McCarey's Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys! See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Color by Deluxe)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

'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 »

Goofs

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 »

Connections

References Red Dust (1932) See more »

Soundtracks

You're In The Army Now
(uncredited)
Music by Isham Jones
Lyrics by Tell Taylor and Ole Olsen
Played when Gen. Thorwald drafts Harry into the army
See more »

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User Reviews

 
If it's a comedy, it's supposed to be funny
16 May 2015 | by SimonJackSee all my reviews

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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