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Follow the Boys

USA 1944
produced by
Charles K. Feldman for Universal
directed by A. Edward Sutherland
starring George Raft, Vera Zorina, Jeanette MacDonald, Orson Welles, Marlene Dietrich, Dinah Shore, Donald O'Connor, Peggy Ryan, W.C. Fields, the Andrews Sisters (= Laverne Andrews, Maxene Andrews, Patty Andrews), Artur Rubinstein, Carmen Amaya & her Company, Sophie Tucker, Delta Rhuthm Boys, Leonard Gautier's Brickslayers, Ted Lewis & Orchestra, Freddie Slack & Orchestra, Charlie Spivak & Orchestra, Louis Jordan & Orchestra, Charley Grapewin, Grace McDonald, Charles Butterworth, George Macready, Elizabeth Patterson, Theodore von Eltz, Regis Toomey, Ramsay Ames, Martha O'Driscoll, Max 'Slapsie Maxie' Rosenbloom
written by Lou Breslow, Gertrude Purcell, music by Leigh Harline, Frank Skinner, Oliver Wallace

American World War II Propaganda

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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The film starts with the fall of the vaudeville, and heartbroken, one of vaudeville's most beloved performers, Tony West (George Raft), goes to Hollywood to try and make it in the filmbusiness. He eventually tricks his way into one of Gloria Vance's (Vera Zorina) films and dances his way into her heart ... and before you know it, they marry and become Hollywood's favourite couple. Then World War II breaks out, and Tony West tries to enlist the very first day, but is rejected due to a childhood back injury that has never totally healed. Soe he pretty much creates the USO single-handedly that sends popular performers to all corners of the world to entertain the troops. Unsurprisingly, the USO becomes a resounding success, and Tony makes it the center of his life - much to the dismay of Gloria, who has just learned she's pregnant ... but Tony's so busy she can't even tell him.

The two seperate, and Gloria refuses to tell Tony about her pregnancy until she's already far along and learns that Tony has created the USO to compensate for the fact he has gotten rejected. She tries to call him immediately but learns he has already embarked on a journey to Australia to entertain the troops there. On the eve of his landing, he confesses to his sister Kitty (Grace McDonald) that he's still madly in love with Gloria, and she tells him about her pregnancy. Tony wants to call her from Brisbane right the next morning, but then his ship gets sunk by a Japanese submarine. Weirdly enough, Tony ends up to be the only casualty.

Back home, Gloria gives birth to a son, but right out of hospital, she decides to join the USO in honour of her late husband - now if that doesn't sound like motherly love ...

 

A propaganda movie as silly as they come: War is portrayed as soldiers sitting around wherever waiting for stars from radio, stage and screen stopping by to entertain them, and these stars are uniformly over-enthusiastic to give free performances ... problem is, only very few performances can stand the test of time, the Andrews Sisters are at least as energetic as ever, a magic trick involving Orson Welles and Marlene Dietrich has at least curiosity value, and W.C. Fields gives us another taste of his pooltable routine (though he and his routine have seen better days), but many of the other songs and performances are rather tiring, especially since they seem to be thrown into the film without narrative function or even rhyme or reason - and the undying enthusiasm of the performers gets onto one's nerves after a while as well.

As for the little story segments there are: George Raft, a fine tough guy actor, just doesn't cut it as performer with a vaudeville background, and let's face it, he isn't much of a dancer, either - so yeah, he pretty much sinks the role (probably more the casting director's fault than his own though).

In all, just not worth your time, believe me.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD