THIS IS THE ARMY Add To My Top 10

Patriotic Irving Berlin Musical

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Release Date: October 25, 2013

Starring: Ronald Reagan, George Murphy, Joan Leslie, Alan Hale, George Tobias, Rosemary DeCamp, Stanley Ridges, Charles Butterworth, Irving Berlin, Una Merkel

Genre: Musical

Audience: All ages

Rating: Code Approved

Runtime: 121 minutes

Address Comments To:

Jeffrey L. Bewkes, CEO, Time Warner
Kevin Tsujihara, Chairman/CEO Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. (New Line Cinema)
Greg Silverman and Sue Kroll, President, Warner Bros. Pictures
4000 Warner Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91522-0001
Phone: (818) 954-6000
Website: www.movies.warnerbros.com

Content:

(CC, BB, PPP, V, N, A, D, M) Strong Christian, moral worldview with very strong Pro-American, patriotic content; no foul language; brief war violence; no sexual immorality, but some old-fashioned stage show cross dressing by all male military cast; very brief upper male nudity; alcohol use; smoking; and, some white men with black face makeup.


Summary:

THIS IS THE ARMY is a patriotic, entertaining 1943 musical released to raise funds for World War II Army Relief, with numbers by Irving Berlin and featuring a story about a soldier trying to direct a fundraising show while dealing with girl problems. THIS IS THE ARMY stars Ronald Reagan and features Kate Smith singing “God Bless America,” but includes some musical numbers with male soldiers dressing as women and appearing in blackface.


Review:

THIS IS THE ARMY is a patriotic 1943 Irving Berlin musical released to raise funds for World War II Army Relief. It stars Ronald Reagan and features Kate Smith singing “God Bless America,” but includes some numbers with old-fashioned cross-dressing and minstrel show blackface.



The story is that an all-male cast of soldiers puts on a traveling stage show to raise money for Army relief. The show includes comedy skits, dancing, singing, magic, and gymnastics. Because it’s supposed to include only actual male soldiers, the female roles in the show are filled with men dressed as women. Further, as in THE JAZZ SINGER, there’s a scene with white men in blackface. Despite this, another scene includes the famous black boxer Joe Louis and a group of actual black dancers who do an incredible job. At one point, the great Irving Berlin sings one of his own songs, “Oh, How I Hate To Get Up in the Morning.”



THIS IS THE ARMY is an example of a 1940s style Hollywood musical with big dance numbers featuring hundreds of dancers carefully choreographed. Ronald Reagan plays the show’s director, who’s reluctant to marry his fiancée until the war is over, not wanting her to be a widow if he doesn’t return. The movie is ultra patriotic and was a huge success, but seems very dated today. When viewing it, it’s best to take into account the context of when it was made. It was literally a patriotic fundraising movie.



In song and in dialogue, the movie expresses that World War I, called “the war to end all wars,” failed to do so. World War II is presented as a responsibility to finish the job. No such movie will ever be made today for the “War on Terror.” During the 1940s, America united to fight World War II like it never has since. THIS IS THE ARMY is an example of how unashamedly Hollywood participated in that unified effort.



Very unabashedly, the movie features Kate Smith singing “God Bless America” while soldiers are seen enlisting or complying with the draft. Joining the army is presented as doing your duty to God and your country.


In Brief:

THIS IS THE ARMY is a patriotic 1943 Irving Berlin musical released to raise funds for World War II Army Relief. It stars Ronald Reagan and features Kate Smith singing “God Bless America.” An all-male cast of soldiers puts on a traveling stage show to raise money for Army relief. The show includes comedy skits, dancing, singing, magic, and gymnastics. Because it’s supposed to include only male soldiers, the female roles are filled with men dressed as women. Also, there’s a scene with white men wearing minstrel show blackface. Despite this, another scene includes the famous black boxer Joe Lewis and a group of black dancers that do an incredible job.



THIS IS THE ARMY is an example of a 1940s style Hollywood musical with big dance numbers featuring hundreds of dancers carefully choreographed. Ronald Reagan plays the show’s director who’s reluctant to marry his fiancée until the war is over, because he doesn’t want her to become a widow. THIS IS THE ARMY is patriotic and was a huge success in 1943. Though entertaining and sometimes stirring, it seems a bit dated today.