Forces' Sweetheart (1953)

  |  Comedy


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Maclean Rogers

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21 July 2012 | wilvram
| Modest musical comedy
Made by the same team as DOWN AMONG THE Z MEN, with Harry Secombe playing a similar role, this is lacking even the remnants of the Goon's radio shows that survived in the earlier film, despite Michael Bentine's roles as co-star and co-writer. It's pretty certain, if you couldn't stand Z MEN, you will want to avoid this. It does have a measure of nostalgia and camp appeal though.

Thin plot has leggy Hy Hazell returning from entertaining the troops in Korea (yes, the Brits did fight there) and rehearsing for a new West End show, hampered by lovelorn amiable idiots, Secombe, an army private, and RAF pilot Bentine. The show is sponsored by eccentric millionaire Freddie Frinton, who's made a packet, selling millions of packets of 'synthetic rubber chewing gum' during the war. Frinton gives the most consistently funny performance, and at one stage, in his celebrated alcohol fuelled mode, assisted by Secombe and Bentine, sings a comic song 'I'm to be married in the morning' which has a curious, partial similarity to the later famous number from MY FAIR LADY. Bentine and Secombe's more amusing moments tend to be of childlike humour, dressing up and wearing outrageous wigs and Bentine utilises his contemporary stage performance, including using walking sticks and a sink plunger as props. Leslie Robert's Toppers, also returning from Z MEN, do another high-kicking leg-show routine, followed by a more sedate Charlie Chaplin tribute. Mr. Secombe offers a traditional ballad as well. Additional glamour is provided by E.J. Fancey's stunning daughter Adrienne, here with a striking resemblance to Marilyn Monroe. Surprisingly, she never made much impact as an actress, but had much more success running her father's companies in the 1970s.

One or two reviews have referred to very poor production values, but apart from a poorly staged, would-be-funny boxing match at the end, they seem no worse than in many other B films of the period.

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