The Andrews Sisters with Harry James
Staysun | Downers Grove, IL USA | 03/02/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"With the benefit of the DVD format, this film can be enjoyed as an Andrews Sisters concert with Harry James as well as the 1942 low-budget Universal musical that it was at the time of release (and a box office success, by the way).
The Sisters swing on "Three Little Sisters" (note this is after the disaster at Bataan/Corregidor and the lyric "from Iceland to the Philippines" is changed to "from Iceland down to New Orleans"), "That's the Moon, My Son" and "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree". This is a rare chance to hear the great Vic Schoen Andrews Sisters arrangements with the sharp James orchestra. This film also provides a glimpse of the great stage presence and commedienne quality of Patty Andrews, if only briefly.
Harry James and Helen Forrest join forces for "You Made Me Love You" and "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen".
James demonstrates his considerable talent on the trumpet several times and the Sisters keep smiling through, perhaps, their strangest novelty song, "We're Six Jerks in a Jeep".
Dick Foran croons "Private Buckaroo" and gives out with "We've Got a Job to Do" which is also the Andrews Sisters finale after the equally rare "Johnny Get Your Gun Again". Neither of these two wartime tunes were recorded by the Sisters in the Decca studio and may only exist in the Sisters surviving recordings on this film soundtrack.
Then-former Stooge Shemp Howard, Mary Wickes and the dancing team of Peggy Ryan and Donald O'Conner try to provide comic support in the tradition of musical comedy films of the era. This DVD contains an adequate print of the film with good sound and also has some World War II newsreel footage and movie bloopers in the package unrelated to "Private Buckaroo".
If Universal does not release a restored print of this film or an Andrews Sisters Universal DVD multi-film package (oh, that they would!), this is a keepsake item."
Glamour and Corn ...
Giordano Bruno | Wherever I am, I am. | 08/31/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"... the same blend as in a Rossini or Mozart opera or in Shakespeare's Midsummer Night. Though the corn seems cornier with age, the glamour is unfaded. Swing was America's finest-ever pop music, swing dance and swing-era clothes were truly glamourous, and the cinematography of this war-time morale booster was silky smooth. The story line -- band leader Harry James gets drafted and the whole band follows him to boot camp and to deployment "over there" -- is just a coat rack for the song-and-dance, featuring the genuine musical brilliance of the Andrews Sisters, including their classic "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree". The grand finale is an unabashed appeal to patriotism -- it was 1942, I was just over a year old, the war was no joke and patriotism was not anyone's idea of corn -- with the band marching forth to join thousands of staunch young men, thousands of warships, a sky full of fighter planes. If all that fervor wasn't real, you could have fooled me.
Do you want to know how America wanted to see itself in 1942? This film is it. Fun-loving, wise-cracking, irreverent towards authority but ready for the call of duty. Nobody's patsy. Never likely to fail a buddy. The iconic cowboy frontiersman, Private Buckaroo. Self-reliant but ready to share a load. Was the self-image realistic? That wasn't in question in the minds of the film makers. I know that my own mother and her sisters idolized the Andrews Sisters. They dressed like them and slung their shoulders like them. My mother even looked like LaVerne and took voice lessons. My father, on the other hand, worshiped Charles Lindbergh and thought America was entering the war on the wrong side.
Buckaroo was a confidently White America. There's not a dusky complexion to be seen in the large cast of this film; the closest to an acknowledgement of "another" America is an allusion to "Gone With the Wind" and a scene where the crooner with the Harry James Orchestra sings a "spiritual." What, "swing" has jazz roots? Harry James is a knock-off of King Oliver and Louis Armstrong? America in 1942 was, and wanted to stay, blithely ignorant of that "other" America. The absence of "dark laughter" in Private Buckaroo is incontrovertible evidence of the rigid, brittle racism that the North had accommodated in order to preserve the Union and pass the New Deal.
But the glamour was real. The painterly camera work in black-and-white, grainy as it was, was artful. The comedy was clever and multi-leveled. The Andrew Sisters could SING! And the country could unite to confront a crisis. Where has it all gone, that youthful confidence and creativity?"
Corn is a commodity
Drake Halstead | Cherryvale, KS, USA | 04/18/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I purchased this to replace a failing VHS copy. That it had Harry James and the Andrew Sisters was the draw. It is as corny as it gets. If you love the images of the 40's big band era, the look and the talk, you'll not mind. The dance scene toward the end was quite naughty for the time. At least the girls' underpants were full coverage back then.
This movie was made for the young people of the time, to entertain them into the spirit of the war effort. Oh! By the way, there is Shemp Howard for "Stooges" fans. This movie has no great deeps. Cheap laughs, great music and dancing kids were all that were originally offered. Music plus visual images. It doesn't cost enough for you to agonize over the price. It's worth it if It's contents mentioned above rang your chimes in any way."