Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys! (1958) - Rotten Tomatoes

Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys! (1958)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Director Leo McCarey was clearly past his prime when he made this screen version of Max Shulman's comic novel Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys; still, the film was a success, no small thanks to the star power of real-life husband and wife Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. The scene is Putnam's Landing, Connecticut, where commuter Harry Bannerman (Paul Newman) is driven crazy by his wife Grace's (Joanne Woodward) insistence upon joining every civic committee known to man. When the government chooses Putnam's Landing as the location for their new missile base, Grace immediately joins a committee to halt this project-which causes no end of trouble for Air Force reservist Harry, who is expected to be the government's liason man for the new base. Adding to the dilemma is local vamp Angela Hoffa (Joan Collins), whose efforts to get her lunchhooks into Harry lead to a dizzying series of recriminations and misunderstandings. Satirical barbs are aimed at military stupidity (as personified by thick-eared Captain Hoxie, played by Jack Carson), small-town hypocrisy, and the teenaged "beat" craze. Among the supporting players are Dwayne Hickman and Tuesday Weld, cast respectively as Marlon Brando wannabe Grady Metcalf and nubile high-schooler Comfort Goodpasture (!); within a year of this film, Hickman and Weld would be reunited on the TV series Dobie Gillis, likewise based on a Max Shulman novel. Also appearing are reliable comedy foil Gale Gordon and an uncredited Murvyn Vye as Angela Hoffa's neglectful husband. Considered fairly racy in 1958, Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys seems slightly childish and draggy today; one wonders how it would have fared had Leo McCarey been at the height of his powers. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Paul Newman
as Harry Bannerman
Joanne Woodward
as Grace Oglethorpe Bannerman
Joan Collins
as Angela Hoffa
Jack Carson
as Capt. Hoxie
Dwayne Hickman
as Grady Metcalf
Tuesday Weld
as Comfort Goodpasture
Gale Gordon
as Col. Thorwald
O.Z. Whitehead
as Isaac Goodpasture
Ralph Osborn III
as Danny Bannerman
Jon Lormer
as George Melvin
Joseph Holland
as Manning Thaw
Burt Mustin
as Milton Evans
Percy Helton
as Waldo Pike
Nora O'Mahoney
as Betty O'Shiel
Richard Collier
as Zack Crummitt
Murvyn Vye
as Oscar Hoffa
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Critic Reviews for Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys!

All Critics (8) | Top Critics (3)

Some of the gags are elaborate and as carefully timed as a dance sequence.

Full Review… | June 17, 2008
Top Critic

Rally Round the Flag, Boys! is no epic. But it's good for laughs.

Full Review… | March 25, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

It backfires grandly.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Satire on activist suburbanites is so weak, it only seems funny because it has nothing to say.

Full Review… | August 17, 2011
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Paul Newman's first comedy is a disappointing small-town film, directed by Leo McCarey at the end of his career, lacking energy and wit.

Full Review… | July 28, 2009

Newman's first comedy should have been his last. Gratuitous and dubious sexuality makes this a poor bet for youngsters.

Full Review… | June 17, 2008
TV Guide

Audience Reviews for Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys!


Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys! (1958) -- [5.5] -- Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward play a busy married couple whose relationship is threatened by everything from the town trollop (Joan Collins) to the US military. "Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys!" is a comedy of errors from Leo McCarey ("The Awful Truth", "An Affair to Remember") where the parts are better than their sum. I like the early scenes between Newman and Woodward, as well as Newman's outrageous scenes with Joan Collins, but the movie tries to do too much in the last half. I didn't care about the subplots involving the military or a community pageant reenacting the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock. If the film concentrated more on the three leads, it might have pulled together better.

Scott Schirmer
Scott Schirmer

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