Hollywood Canteen (1944)

DELMER DAVES

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB

USA, 1944Warner Bros..  Screenplay by Delmer Daves.  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by , .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Academy Awards 1944.

War propaganda has never been as shameless as in this endless bore. The film takes place in the actual Hollywood canteen, a real nightclub started in the forties by cinema stars and directors (Bette Davis and John Garfield being the two key founders) where servicemen taking leave in Los Angeles could have a place where they’d be honoured for their efforts and served drinks by their favourite movie stars. The war department saw it as a great opportunity to get more soldiers to join the ranks, so a film was created involving a dopey soldier () who gets the chance to take his favourite actress ( as herself) out for a date (you’ll laugh your head off when you see a movie star hanging out in her backyard, asking her date to keep his voice down in order that her parents won’t be wakened by the sound—what movie star ever actually came from Los Angeles?) The parade of famous faces (including Davis) is a delightful sight, but lines like “Hey, you’re Mrs. Skeffington! I saw your latest movie” (looks at camera straight) “We see films on the ship before they get screened for regular audiences!” will have you screaming.

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