Call Me Mister (1951)

Genres - Musical  |   Release Date - Feb 1, 1951 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 96 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

In 1951, the title "Call Me Mister" still retained some drawing power for audiences, recalling not only the hit 1946 Broadway revue that was the alleged basis for this film but also the cry of many soldiers finally discharged from service, who came rushing back home ready to embrace civilian life. Unfortunately, the film Mister captures little of the joy and verve of the stage show, dispensing with most of the strong Harold Rome songs and forcing a tired and unconvincing plot onto the proceedings. Albert E. Lewin's screenplay is trite all around, from the story to the dialogue to the lame attempts at comedy. The songs are definitely better, although they're a mixed lot, the best being the three Rome numbers (especially "Goin' Home Train," performed by a very young Bobby Short) and Sammy Fain's "Love Is Back in Business" and "I Just Can't Do Enough for You, Baby." Although not at the peak of his form, Busby Berkeley stages the numbers well, and certainly adds a lot more imagination to the proceedings than director Lloyd Bacon, who seems to be operating on autopilot. Fortunately, stars Betty Grable and Dan Dailey are delightful company throughout, and there's some fine work from Danny Thomas and Benay Venuta to keep things moving.