Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.
USA, 1944. Warner Bros.. Screenplay by Delmer Daves. Cinematography by Bert Glennon. Produced by Alex Gottlieb. Music by Leo F. Forbstein, Ray Heindorf. Production Design by Leo K. Kuter. Costume Design by Milo Anderson. Film Editing by Christian Nyby.
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 (Robert Hutton) who gets the chance to take his favourite actress (Joan Leslie 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.
Academy Award Nominations: Best Sound Recording; Best Scoring of a Musical Picture; Best Song (“Sweet Dreams Sweetheart”)