Less of a feel-good-about-war movie than a salute to war veterans, with Bing Crosby and his partner Danny Kaye (of Secret Life of Walter Mitty) coming across their old general by chance and staging a christmastime salute to him with all the old guys. Movie was pretty okay with good enough music, didn’t feel as lightweight as most of the musicals we’ve seen but also not as exciting / high-quality. Paramount’s first widescreen movie, funny since so much of it takes place indoors on stages.
The guys fall for a sister act that sings about being sisters (like in Young Girls of Rochefort, but the American sister song isn’t half as good as the French) played by glorious Rosemary Clooney (one of her only other film roles besides Red Garters) and Vera-Ellen (of some other Danny Kaye movies, not much else). V-E had to wear high collars in the movie to cover her neck which was gross-looking from anorexia. The ol’ general Dean Jagger played the sheriff in Fuller’s Forty Guns.
Kaye’s part was written for Sinatra to reunite the duo from “Holiday Inn”, the movie that premiered the Irving Berlin song “White Christmas” 12 years earlier. They even used sets from “Holiday Inn”, which I’m starting to suspect might be a better movie. Highest-grossing film of 1954, oscar-nom for Berlin’s new “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep”. I preferred “Gee, I Wish I Was Back in the Army.” This was Michael Curtiz’s 25th movie since Casablanca – he doesn’t seem a very distinctive or celebrated director. Shot by a guy named Loyal, written by a guy named Melvin and two guys named Norman.