Saturday, June 29, 2019

Tonight's Movie: There's Something About a Soldier (1943)

THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT A SOLDIER is a World War II homefront/training film from Columbia Pictures.

Tom Neal plays Wally, a frankly obnoxious candidate in an officers training course in North Carolina.

The cocky Wally tries to charm Carol (Evelyn Keyes) while simultaneously rejecting working as a study team with his fellow candidates, who include rough-hewn but dedicated Alex (Frank Sully) and reserved Frank (Bruce Bennett), who had served with Carol's late brother in North Africa.

As the men struggle to master all aspects of their training and pass the course, eventually Wally begins to mature, causing Carol to warm up to him; however, Wally's newfound concern for his fellow soldiers leads him to do something rash just before graduation.

This is a nice little 81-minute movie, nothing special yet it's elevated by the presence of both Keyes and Bennett, not to mention the ever-bubbly Jeff Donnell as one of Keyes' friends. Neal isn't very likeable, but then he's not really meant to be, and he does show Wally's growth as the film continues.

Since WWII films set in the U.S. are a longtime interest of mine, this film was right up my alley. I suspect audiences of the day would be interested in learning about the training process their family members or friends might be going through at officer candidate schools. It may not be great drama but I found it an interesting slice of WWII filmmaking.

The supporting cast includes Johnny Mitchell (PILLOW TO POST) as a sympathetic instructor, plus Jonathan Hale, Hugh Beaumont, John Hubbard, Blake Edwards, Lewis Wilson, Louise Beavers, and more. Apparently I missed picking out Shelley Winters in a bit role!

THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT A SOLDIER was directed by Alfred E. Green. It was filmed in black and white by George Meehan and Philip Tannura.

It's available as a manufactured-on-demand DVD from Sony Choice/Columbia. It's also shown occasionally on Turner Classic Movies.


Blogger Caftan Woman said...

The historical aspects would draw me as well, and certainly the presence of Bruce Bennett. Thanks for highlighting this previously unknown to me movie.

6:19 AM  

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