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Made during WW2 this interesting example of the media as a propaganda device is another Irving Berlin rah-rah the U.S.A. "Remember WW1? Well, we got through that one and so we'll get through this one the very same way...SINGING!" The assorted parties line up on either side of the stage for their entrance, do their bit, and promptly exit stage. It's a barn-burner. It's obvious hard sell dates the work and gives the piece the unpleasant aftertaste of hucksterism.
Maybe because I am a babyboomer, I love these old movies that are especially patriotic.
While watching "This Is The Army", I couldn't help but think about many American Soldiers, (who were out on the warfront), that it may have impacted and given the courage to move on. It's a real glowing tribute to the Army. Plus it was really great for a kid like me to see some of the all time greats performing on screen, such as Ronald Reagan and Jerry Jones. But still, as unfortunate as it is, this film is sadly one of Irving Berlin's lesser musical adaptions.
My Grade for the film: C+
Made by Warner Bros. to raise money for the Army Relief Fund (the film grossed an amazing $9.5 million), this is a colorful representation of two Irving Berlin shows: "Yip Yip Yaphank (from WWI) and "This Is the Army" (from WWII). The hit songs included "I Left My Heart at the Stage Door Canteen" and the title tune.
star studded WWII musical
This is the Army was written by the famous composer Irving Berlin as a tribute to the wartime soldiers during WWII. Berlin first wrote a broadway show Yip Yip Yaphank during WWI which this film was based from. The movie includes Berlin's own rendition of "Oh, How I Hate to get Up in the Morning" and Kate Smith's famous rendition of "God Bless America". The film also includes an ensemble cast and crew who served as well as Lt. Ronald Reagan as Johnny and the director Sgt. Ezra Stone.
The highlight of this film is the 'this is the army' song.
The musical "This Is The Army" qualifies as the most unusual war film that Warner Brothers produced. This Home Front musical stirred up controversy with scenes where active duty armed forces personnel cavorted in female apparel. Essentially, two Irvin Berlin stage plays, "Yip, Yip, Yaphank," a 1917 stage production, and Berlin's successful 1942 Broadway play "This Is The Army," served as the basis for the film. "Casablanca" scenarist Casey Robinson and veteran screenwriter Claude Binyon, an army captain now, added a back stage story about a young soldier's reluctance to marry his sweetheart before he marches off to war. The movie also spelled out its patriotic, gung-ho ideology in the last scene with the song "This Time Is The Last Time." The lyrics of this song suggested that there would not be a World War III. Warner Brothers assigned Casablanca director Michael Curtiz to "This Is The Army." Production on this Technicolor "A" picture got underway February 24, 1943 and ended May 14, 1943.
The action unfolds in New York City in 1917 as dancer Jerry Jones (George Murphy) receives his draft notice. Jones marries his sweetheart Ethel (Rosemary DeCamp) and then reports for duty. At boot camp, Jerry struggles to make the transition from dancer to foot soldier. He makes his drill instructor, Sergeant McGee (Alan Hale, Sr.), painfully aware of his problem with regimentation. When Sergeant McGee talks about Jerry's problem to the camp commandant, Major John B. Davidson (Stanley Ridges), the commander decides that Jerry's talents may be put to better use on a morale boosting play. Jerry produces and stages "Yip, Yip, Yaphank," a show about Army life. As the show draws to a finish, the doughboys march off the stage in full fighting gear, down the aisles, and head for their transport ship. Jerry sees action somewhere in France, and comes home a cripple. He walks with a slight limp, but his handicap does not restrict him from his first loveâ"the stage. He opens a theatrical talent agency.
The film leaps from 1918 to 1941, and Jerry's son, Johnny (Ronald Reagan), enlists in the Army to fight World War II. Johnny's sweetheart Eileen Dibble (Joan Leslie) wants to marry him before he leaves, but he refuses to exchange vows. Meanwhile, Jerry gets together with Major Davidson, and they arrange for Jerry to produce another morale boosting musical. Reluctantly, Johnny helps out his father. Unlike "Yip, Yip, Yaphank," the new show incorporates African-Americans in the cast, most prominently boxing champion Sergeant Joe Louis (the actual Joe Lewis), and features an all black musical number "That's What The Well-Dressed Man in Harlem" will wearâ"army khakis. As the soldiers are about to perform their final number, Ethel persuades Johnny to marry her. In the closing number, Johnny and the troops march off to World War II singing "This Time Is The Last Time." No sooner had Warner Brothers prepared to go into production on "This Is The Army" than an issue arose involving overseas distribution and the Office of Censorship. Warner sent a memo to Hal Wallis about the matter dated December 28, 1942, that Allison Durland, an unofficial adviser to the OOC who handled Latin American affairs for the PCA, said, "regardless of extenuating circumstances he does not believe export license would be granted because of female impersonators." As Warner Brothers would learn to their surprise, Central and Latin American countries considered men dressing up as women as repugnant and immoral. That American soldiers would be impersonating females did not go over well either.
Although Warner Brothers released This Is The Army to domestic theaters on August 14, 1943, the studio had to confront the unexpected crisis over female impersonators, a predicament unique to this movie, because they produced no other films during the war that created so much controversy over something that everybody involved in deemed more amusing than offensive. Warner Brothers foreign distribution executive Carl Schaefer sent a memo to Warner on December 17, 1943, after he had conferred with Rothacker. Schaefer told Warner that he had "been advised unofficially we will be denied export license for This Is The Army if men play chorus girls as in the stage production." At length, Schaefer explained the rationale to Warner, "Female impersonators do not exist in Latin America: men in women's clothing are highly insulting and revolting to Latin American sensibilities and censors. Even could the film be exported, United States soldiers cavorting in dresses would represent ammunition to the enemy's propagandists. The Universal Pictures film "Argentina Nights" (1940) proved this point.
"This Is The Army" is a blast to watch.
My first Reagan film! Not bad, but clearly propaganda.
This Film has President Ronald Reagan in it, a very talented guy. Its a little while before he appears. Its made during WWII so its not as dramatic as most movies of Combat during that Era. Still with President Reagan in it deserves 3 1/2 stars.