1 June 2016 | bkoganbing
GIs Wanna Go Home
There was not much you could do with Call Me Mister after 20th Century Fox bought the rights. Unless of course you wanted to do a review like Ziegfeld Follies. So the title is retained and a few songs and a story is written. Of course when you have Betty Grable doing her fourth and last film with Dan Dailey that usually sold any film that Fox put out.
Harold Rome wrote the score for the Broadway revue Call Me Mister. The theme was about the end of World War II and the return to civilian life for the troops. The songs and sketches reflected that. The very topicality of the show is the reason it's not revived today. The plot here concerns the end of the war. Betty Grable is a WAC and her estranged husband are both in occupied Japan. They were a double act in vaudeville, she's looking to put on a GI show. He's looking to get the title of civilian again.
But Dailey who arrives at base a little late finds his ship has sailed for the USA and discharge. So he fakes some orders and gets himself assigned to Grable's show. Where he has to deal with Captain Dale Robertson to win back his wife.
Let's say it helps that Dailey sings and dances in his quest. And through some typical army red tape his potential jackpot disappears.
Danny Thomas is in the cast also and he gets one of the Rome retained songs Military Life. Bobby Short also is lead singer with Going Home Train also retained from the original.
I can't understand myself why the biggest hit of the show South America Take It Away didn't make the film. It sold a lot of records for Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters. As the film itself was about putting on a show it could have been worked in easily enough. It's heard in passing briefly.
One song I always liked was The Shiny New Face On The Dime in tribute to Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1946 with FDR's death still fresh it was a poignant show stopper. I guess that Darryl Zanuck felt it wouldn't have the same impact in 1951. A pity, it's a great song.
In small roles at the start of their careers are Richard Boone and Jeffrey Hunter both Fox contract players. Benay Venuta is Grable's girl sidekick and she and Thomas pair off well.
For fans of any of the cast members in this still amusing and entertaining musical.