5 April 2009 | bkoganbing
The Stars Come To Travis
Starlift is a pleasant and interesting throwback to those all star musical pictures that every studio was putting out during the World War II years. When you've got such stars as Gary Cooper, James Cagney, Doris Day, Gordon MacRae, and Randolph Scott, etc., in the film and with such people as the Gershwin Brothers, Cole Porter, Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn supplying the music, it's an easy to take film. And the plot isn't even in the way.
What plot there is involves two Air Force enlisted men, Dick Wesson and Ron Hagerthy, trying to meet Warner Brothers starlet Janice Rule using as a gimmick the fact that both come from Youngstown, Ohio and Hagerthy's father was Rule's dentist as well as half of the town's. The scheme works too well as Louella Parsons is soon putting them as an item in her column. Yes, Louella's in the film as well. She must have liked Warner Brothers or Jack Warner catered to her more than the other studio bosses because she also used this studio to publicize her Hollywood Hotel radio program back in the day.
But the rest of the plot also touched on the real life efforts of Ruth Roman also playing herself to get her studio and others to do shows at the Air Force bases for the servicemen and women going to Korea. Some of the names I've mentioned and others sing and perform in a show at Travis Air Force Base where a lot of this film was shot.
One specialty number was shot for the talents of Phil Harris who sing/narrates a ballad Look Out Stranger, I'm A Texas Ranger aided and assisted by Virginia Gibson, Frank Lovejoy and Gary Cooper. Yup, Cooper looked like he was having a great old time kidding his image.
This is the oldest of clichés when you say they don't make them like this any more, but they really don't because you don't have a studio system that has all this talent under contract. That's one thing about the demise of the old studio system we can mourn.