Sunday, May 28, 2017

Tonight's Movie: Keep Your Powder Dry (1945) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

Each year I like to watch at least one movie about the military during Memorial Day Weekend. This year I chose KEEP YOUR POWDER DRY (1945), available on DVD from the Warner Archive.

This story about three new members of the Women's Army Corps (WAC), released just as World War II was coming to an end, is a very entertaining film designed as a wartime morale booster.

Laraine Day plays Leigh, an "army brat" who's a know-it-all, intimidating her fellow WACs. She has a particularly difficult relationship with Val (Lana Turner), a flighty socialite who initially signs up for the WACs to impress trustees to turn loose of her trust fund. Instead Val finds that the WACs are the making of her, giving her discipline and purpose.

Sweet Susan Peters plays Ann, who joins the WACs to do her part to help speed the homecoming of her soldier husband (Michael Kirby). She often finds herself playing peacemaker between her battling friends.

I first saw this film eight years ago, and I might have enjoyed it even more the second time around. It's a well-done film which is also interesting as a reflection of its time, and with that trio of lead actresses it can't help but be entertaining.

According to Cheryl Crane's book on her mother Lana, she and Laraine Day really didn't get along when the movie was made; years later, however, they became friends.

Sadly this was Peters' last film before the hunting accident which left her crippled; the accident occurred on New Year's Day 1945, just ahead of this film's April 1945 release. She would make only one more feature film, THE SIGN OF THE RAM (1948), with her wheelchair written into the story. She passed away in 1952.

Agnes Moorehead is particularly good as the women's commanding officer. Also in the cast are Lee Patrick, June Lockhart, Natalie Schafer, and Henry O'Neill.

KEEP YOUR POWDER DRY was directed by Edward Buzzell. It was filmed in black and white by Ray June. The running time is 93 minutes.

The Warner Archive DVD is a very nice-looking print. The disc includes the trailer.

Recommended, especially for MGM fans and those interested in the films of WWII.

Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this DVD. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered from the Warner Archive Collection at the WBShop or from any online retailers where DVDs and Blu-rays are sold.

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