Saturday, August 03, 2002


I've seen bits and pieces of this over the years, but now that I've seen the whole thing in one sitting, I think it's best experienced in short bursts. Based on a hit play, it's the adventures of a group of guys sharing a dorm room at the Virginia Military Institute, a real place that I can only assume is heavily fictionalized here. Wayne Morris (handsome and sturdy) is the cocky and daring one, Ronald Reagan is the one who wants to be the voice of reason, and Eddie Albert is relatively shy and quiet, partly because he has a secret bride who is pregnant--school rules don't allow marriages for cadets. Scenes of the three guys interacting in their room are pretty good, as Morris & Reagan & Albert do work up some fun chemistry, but when the movie opens up the play beyond that, the going gets a little tedious. Priscilla Lane and Jane Wyman are OK, but aren't given much to do aside from a flat slapsticky bit where they're caught with the boys at their house after hours. William Tracy (the annoying messenger boy in SHOP AROUND THE CORNER) has a small part, as does Johnnie Davis, who stands out to me as the androgynous fellow who sings "Hooray for Hollywood" at the beginning of HOLLYWOOD HOTEL. Overall, it passed the time well enough, but much of it was surprisingly slow-moving and the characters were not as charming as they should have been. It didn't inspire any great desire in me to see the sequel.

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