What? No plot? Sure it has a plot, mostly involving star Eddie Cantor in his dual roles as himself and Joe: the ex-Broadway acting city bus driver, the Dennis Morgan-Joan Leslie romantic duo, and the 'Cuddles' Sakal-Edward Everett Horton show producing duo. Very strangely, the last two aren't even included in the major players list at this site, whereas Bogart, who had one short minor scene with Sakal, is at the top of the list!!
The film begins with Dinah Shore singing the title song, composed by the team of Frank Loesser and Arthur Schwartz, who composed the numerous additional novel songs. This was Dinah's first film role, she being cast as the primary female singer, with virtually no role in the dramatic scenes. No doubt , she achieved this status thanks to Cantor, who often included her on his radio shows in the early 40s, being groomed by Cantor to become a significant singing star. She has 2 additional songs, well separated from each other. She comes across much better than in the rather similar type of film "'Til the Clouds Roll By", perhaps because of the influence of Cantor. She is followed by a comedy routine by John Garfield and Cantor, in which Garfield attempts to sing(not very successfully) Dinah's recent hit "Blues in the Night" Actually, this routine is rather good, with Garfield playing a tough guy gangster, with Cantor his periodic victim.
Next, we have Spike Jones and his inimical cutup band, initially alone, then backing up the primary male singer Dennis Morgan, who is nearly always in the company of girlfriend spunky Joan Leslie. ....After Cantor does a typical Cantor song : "We're Staying Home", relating to the war, Alan Hale and Jack Carson do a vaudevillian song/dance/ comedy routine to "Way up North", rather reminding me of the Bing Crosby/Bob Hope team in "Road to Utopia", filmed that same year, but not released for several years.
Between bits of drama is the "Love Isn't Born, It's Made" number, featuring Anne Sheridan, surrounded by a female chorus group who look to be at a slumber party. Anne's sophisticated singing style is quite different from Dinah's. The last time I saw her in a film, she was chasing Frank Sinatra, as 'the other woman', in the musical "Step Lively".
After additional songs by Morgan, and by Dinah, we have an all African American production, centered around the song "Ice Cold Katie, Why Don't You Marry the Soldier". Hattie McDaniel starts off the singing, but various others dominate the singing at times, in a crowded street scene, in which another actress plays Katie, and is encouraged to marry a scared -looking soldier(Willie Best), who doesn't say or sing anything. Charismatic AA actor Jesse Lee Brooks is the tall robust justice of the peace, who dominates the dialogue and singing at times. He previously played the preacher in the well-remembered AA church scene, in "Sullivan's Travels", and would die the year following the present film. This was certainly one of the highlights of the film. Warner's flag-waving revue of the previous year: This is the Army", had also featured one all AA musical-comedy production.
The musical production featuring Errol Flynn I didn't think much of. Not Flynn's fault. This was followed by Betty Davis's performance of "They're either too old or too Young", in which she laments that all the potential appropriate men for her are overseas in the armed forces. This was much more focused than Flynn's number, and Betty was quite good.
The last original musical production was meant to contribute to FDR's 'good neighbor policy' to try to keep Latin American countries from siding with the European fascists. Morgan serenades a Latin senorita with "Good Neighbor, Good Night" . Interspersed between his singing bouts, Alexis Smith, with several male dancers, entertain with a romantic dance. Alexis would become Flynn's most frequent romantic lead in his 40s films, after he said goodbye to Olivia de Havilland, who had a small dancing part in this show, with Ida Lupino. Alexis would be featured as Cole Porter's wife in the tribute to Porter's music : "Night and Day".
The last of the film deals with Cantor's problem that his look-alike, Joe, has taken over his identity as a showman and stage producer, and he is in a mental hospital, slated for a lobotomy. The finale consists of brief reprises of the major musical productions, some with rather elaborate sets. Then, orchestra conductor Sakal is spooked when he sees that all his players have Cantor faces, some with fiendish grins, after Cantor has been whisked off for a lobotomy. Not clear if this is supposed to indicate that Joe has suddenly become more dominating than the obnoxiously dominating real Cantor, whom Sakal helped get rid of.
Of the 3 Warner films released in '43-44 in the current Warner Homefront DVD set, this is clearly the most entertaining, overall. In part, this is because of the pervading presence of Cantor and Sakal. But, it's also because it's the least saturated with flag-waving and enlistment promotional innuendos, and has the most semblance of a fairly entertaining story to go along with the many musical and comedy productions.