12 February 2009 | bkoganbing
Judy Takes Refuge
Here's real movie trivia teaser. What is the only role that Miriam Hopkins, Betty Grable and Judy Canova did movie versions of? The answer is that under different names they played the same part in She Loves Me Not, True To The Army, and How To Be Very Very Popular. I'm sure that the classical movie fan cannot conceive of any part where these three could be cast in.
But in 1942 Paramount decided to use the plot of She Loves Me Not and switch it from a college to the military as per our wartime period. Judy Canova is a hillbilly trapeze performer in a carnival who from her vantage point sees the mob carry out an execution. The police want her as a material witness, but the mob wants to rub her out. On the run Judy decides to go to the army base where her true love Jerry Colonna is stationed.
At the same time Broadway musical star Allan Jones and Colonna's friend is at his wit's end trying to put on an army morale show as was done in countless musicals of varying quality at the time. Canova disguised as a soldier auditions for the show and Jones has to help Colonna protect her secret. He also wants to get his commanding officer Clarence Kolb's daughter into the production and who wouldn't want the lady of a thousand taps, Ann Miller in any show.
If you've seen She Loves Me Not you've got an idea of the general plot outline. The film is distinctly Canova and Colonna's show with Allan Jones and Ann Miller taking a back seat. I'm thinking that had to be because Canova was drawing more people to the box office than Allan Jones was at the time. Colonna was also a household name by dint of his status as a regular on Bob Hope's radio show.
True To The Army has an unmemorable score, but the numbers are nicely staged for a B musical. William Demarest is also in the film and plays the part of a crusty sergeant, one he could do in his sleep.
It's an OK film, but geared for the fans of the quartet of stars.