30 April 2009 | Doylenf
As daffy as any Marx Brothers comedy--a farce about crowded Washington, D.C. in wartime...
I was so busy watching ANN SHERIDAN looking so great that I had a hard time keeping track of the zany plot. She really had a flair for comedy, even this kind of absurd farce, that it's a shame she was never given better scripts. JANE WYMAN plays the sort of dumb blonde that made Marilyn famous (only she's a brunette here)--but she too is saddled with overly dumb remarks that even JACK Carson has a hard time swallowing. And ALEXIS SMITH proves that behind that frozen puss she has a real sense of humor. Catch the scene where she stoops to telling a tale of woe in a Brooklyn accent! Incidentally, her boyfriend in the film is the man she eventually married in real life--CRAIG REYNOLDS.
I don't fault the actors. CHARLES RUGGLES is actually quite good as a businessman attracted to Wyman. And character actor JOHN RIDGELY gets to play a prominent supporting role as Sheridan's fiancé with a good deal of amiable charm and skill. For these reasons alone, the film is worth watching despite the over-baked ham.
But beware of most of the farce, which is directed with the finesse of a sledgehammer bearing down on all the lines, emphasized by big close-ups of the cast in wide-eyed reaction shots in case we don't get the point.
It's another in a number of wartime films (WWII) emphasizing the overcrowded hotel conditions in Washington, D.C. from the very opening shot--similar to "The More the Merrier" and "Government Girl."
Terribly overdone, downright hammy performances from everyone including EVE ARDEN as "a Russian Sergeant York" who shoots her rifle from the terrace. Jane Wyman's character gets annoying after the first few remarks and from then on I kept my eyes on Sheridan. Her reactions are priceless, if a bit over-the-top.
Trivia note: MARK STEVENS has only a couple of lines to say during one of the crowded hotel scenes as Reynolds' Army friend and NATALIE SCHAEFER has no lines at all as a woman holding a baby.