All about the citizens of Putnam's Landing and their reactions to an Army missile base in their backyard.All about the citizens of Putnam's Landing and their reactions to an Army missile base in their backyard.All about the citizens of Putnam's Landing and their reactions to an Army missile base in their backyard.
I think Newman is capable of comedy – he later shows a knack for some simple and sophisticated humor ("The Sting," "Slap Shot," and in the Western crime and biopic, "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid"). But – as at least one other reviewer noted, he's not suited for the farcical. For that matter, neither is Joanne Woodward. A couple others said they didn't like her character. I think it would have been fine -- if she had made it funny. Woodward was an excellent dramatic actress. She won an Oscar for "The Three Faces of Eve," and received three more nominations. But her comedic abilities were limited to the witty and wry dialog type – nothing with mayhem and farce. Other reviewers talked about the humor in the novel by Max Shulman that this movie is based on, and the absence of so many good and witty lines in the film.
Jack Carson helped pick the film up some as an incompetent Army officer, Captain Hoxie. Carson was a first-rate supporting actor who often had considerable roles in movies. His film persona reminds me of Bud Abbott – a straight man who always seems serious, and whom others can play off with such great humor. Carson was an intelligent actor who knew he wasn't going to get male leads. He played his characters to the hilt. Carson died of cancer at age 52. Had he lived longer, he might have garnered an Oscar – for a comedy or dramatic supporting role. Other fine supporting actors earned greater recognition for their talents in their later years. Examples are Hume Cronyn and Harry Morgan.
This film has a couple of very funny scenes, but nothing more. Others have noted the silliness of the plot toward the end. I don't have a problem with that – comedy is comedy, of whatever degree of foolishness, farce, fantasy and silliness. But, it really should be funny. Regrettably, "Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys" doesn't have what it takes. Newman and Woodward were at the peak of their careers and popularity at the time, so the studio (20th Century Fox) probably thought they could do no wrong. Maybe fan appeal would be enough.
The film had a considerable budget for 1958, at nearly $1.9 million. It made money but it didn't set the world on fire back then either. The box office take was reported at $3.4 million.
- May 16, 2015