Director: ALLAN DWAN. Screenplay: Ralph Spence. Special material: Carl Herzinger. Photography: Russell Metty. Film editor: Theron Warth. Art directors: Albert D'Agostino, Hal Herman. Set decorations: Darrell Silvera, Claude Carpenter. Costumes: Renie. Special photographic effects: Vernon L. Walker. Songs: Candlelight and Wine, They Chopped Down the Old Apple Tree, Don't Believe Everything You Dream, He's Got a Secret Weapon, Great News in the Making, A Moke from Shamokin, Roodle-De-Doo by, Jimmy McHugh (music) and Harold Adamson (Iyrics). Music director: Constantin Bakaleinikoff. Musical and vocal arrangements: George Dunning. Musical numbers created and staged by Nick Castle. Assistant director: Harry Scott. Montage: Douglas Travers. Sound technician: Jean L. Speak. Sound re-recording: James G. Stewart. RCA Sound System. Producer: Allan Dwan.
Copyright 24 November 1943 by RKO Radio Pictures, Inc. New York opening at the Globe: 24 November 1943. U.S. release: 24 November 1943. Australian release: 15 June 1944. 7,314 feet. 81 minutes.
SYNOPSIS: Kay Kyser and his band entertain the troops in Australia, India, Chungking and North Africa.
COMMENT: The tone for this poor man's musical melange is set right from the beginning when Kyser and his merry band of musical misfits entertain a crowd of admirers in Australia with their rendition of "Waltzing Matilda". Never mind that Kyser was box-office poison anywhere outside the U.S.A.
Of course for the film, Kyser and company never left Hollywood. This is patently obvious. Also obvious, a lot of corny jokes, radio jests and assorted bits of Keystone Cops slapstick (including Auer's duel with an electricity-wired sword) plus some purple sentiment from Marcy McGuire plus some over-the-top patriotic plugs from old K.K. himself.
I suppose the movie does have a bit of nostalgia appeal for those who heard Kyser's weekly radio broadcasts. But I am not a great fan of his music. Even the lively "Roodle-Ee-Doo" leaves me cold. The only number I really liked was "Don't Believe Everything You Dream", nicely sung and rather inventively staged and photographed. It almost made the whole film worth seeing. Almost.
OTHER VIEWS: Auteurists who have elected director Allan Dwan to the pantheon would be hard pressed to find much to admire in this lame and rather lackluster effort. How dull can you get? Kay Kyser and his Band make music with no impact, the comedy is so tired not even a team of fine comedians can lift it from rock bottom, and the direction is boringly routine. The wonder is that so much talent could produce a film so depressingly banal. —E.V.D.
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