This Is The Army (1943)


Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5

USA, 1943  Screenplay by , , based on the plays Yip Yip Yaphank and This Is The Army by Cinematography by , Produced by , .   Music by Production Design by , Costume Design by Film Editing by .  

This is war propaganda at its most blatant, and given that it was also one of the highest grossers of the year, I’d say it was also well timed. The rather clunky screenplay combines two Irving Berlin shows, his “Yip Yip Yaphank” that he created when he served in World War I as well as the runaway hit “This Is The Army” that he was then touring, which featured members of the armed forces boosting morale on America’s theatrical stages. The spine of the film’s story has the first of these shows created by when he serves in the Great War, who remains on hand to help his son when he has to create some entertainment for the troops who are about to fight Hitler.  appears as Reagan’s romantic interest and to make sure the whole thing isn’t just men in uniform, which is all you get in the musical numbers performed by actual members of the military and not just actors. As a project it now feels very dated, it’s no surprise that the audiences would go for cardboard stereotypes of valour and not require any shades of vulnerable humanity in their darkest hour, but there are a few great songs and it’s a rare occasion to see himself make an appearance on screen (singing “Oh, How I Hate To Get Up In The Morning”).

Academy Award:  Best Scoring of a Musical Picture
Nominations:  Best Art Direction (Colour); Best Sound Recording

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