Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Up Front is based on the wartime newspaper cartoons by Stars and Stripes contributor Bill Mauldin. Tom Ewell and David Wayne play Willie and Joe, the mud-caked, unshaven, war-weary protagonists of Mauldin's classic panels. The film is on the right track whenever using direct quotes from the original cartoons ("When we ain't fighting, we gotta ack like soljers?"), but soon the necessity for a plotline weighs down the humor. Also, the film waters down Mauldin's satirical jabs at insensitive Army officers and contradictory rules of conduct (Hollywood was still not permitted to find fault with anything military). Thus, we're left with a moderately entertaining piece of semi-slapstick about Willie and Joe's misadventures up and down the Italian front. Tom Ewell returned to play Willie in Up Front's sequel Willie and Joe Back at the Front (52), but David Wayne was replaced by Harvey Lembeck.
army, battle [war], front-line, soldier, war, infantry, friendship, girl, hospital, wound [injury]