Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|At War With the Army / Road to Hollywood|
Actors: Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, Bing Crosby
Studio: Platinum Disc Llc Release Date: 04/20/2004 Starring: Dean Martin Bing Crosby Run time: 143 minutes
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This mediocre comedy is required viewing, of course.
Lawrence Brown | HOUSTON, TX United States | 12/17/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"My comments only apply to "At War with the Army."
This is required viewing since it is Martin and Lewis' first movie. As a comedy, it's not that great. It's not very funny, there's a lot of time wasted on generic dialog, and Dean's character isn't likeable since he mostly shouts, bullies, womanizes, and lies throughout. The movie is based on a play and it seems that some portions that may have played well in a live setting don't work on the screen. I can't be too sure since I don't know what is new to this movie and didn't appear in the play, or what did work in 1950 but doesn't work in 2005.
I got a good nostalgic feeling watching the movie. It gave me a feeling of sitting in a playhouse in 1940 with that era of audience and laughing at silly running gags like the half open door. Now that the bar has been raised so many times with comedy superstars like Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor, Steve Martin, Tom Hanks, and Jerry Lewis himself, it's fun to watch material from a simpler time.
Dean comes across well. His singing is great, he dances, and does an excellent impersonation of Bing Crosby. This is a good showcase of his talent.
Jerry also comes across well, as expected, with all of his trademarks. Bumbling clowning, funny faces, pouting, mime. His singing was better than I expected. He switches off between various singing voices like his zany voice, mock romantic, sarcastic, etc. He can hit the high notes and he sounds good.
The plot is pretty good. The various subplots involving Jerry, his wife and baby, his former friendship with Dean, Dean's two girlfriends and his military career, Dean's romantic rival, and the captain and his wife make for a somewhat complex plot. The movie builds up to the climax where all of the misunderstandings (and intentional subterfuges by Dean's character) come together with seven actors onscreen at the same time fighting each other to work things out. We're lucky that all seven made it into the TV frame!
I was touched by the ending in the same way that I remember always being touched by Martin and Lewis' movies: as though they are really good friends and that's heartwarming.
I was surprised to see so much polish on Martin and Lewis for their first movie, but you have to remember that they had been doing a live act before this, so that explains it.
I can imagine that a lot of the physical comedy gags, like running in and out of doors, throwing things around the room, jumping in another's arms, running around the room turning off lights, fighting with the drink machine, etc, would have worked in a play where the actors are actually doing that stuff live right in front of you. That would have added a lot of action to this play, where plays can sometimes be boring. On screen it doesn't work for me. It seems silly but nothing more.
Martin and Lewis' act is something like the Smothers Brothers' act. Martin scolds Lewis and Lewis gets meek and pouts.
I think most of the value in this movie comes from the performance pieces. The feature songs, dances, impersonations, and large comedy bits like the drink machine scene and Jerry as a woman are good stuff. I'm sorry to say that the rest of the material, which is probably the original play, doesn't quite cut it