Follow the Boys (1944)

Genres - Comedy, Musical  |   Sub-Genres - Showbiz Drama  |   Run Time - 122 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Every Hollywood studio turned out one or more war-time revues like Follow the Boys, entertainments built around a wispy plot that should really have been jettisoned altogether for all the good it ever did. In the case of Boys, it's a particularly annoying one, with a fabricated crisis -- dancer is afraid to admit to his girl that he has a knee injury that makes him unfit for armed service -- that is too silly to be believed. Fortunately, as with most films of this sort, Boys doesn't pay too much attention to its purported story, focusing instead on the many, many acts that are its raison d'etre. Personal choice will dictate which of the acts make the biggest impression, but almost everyone will agree that W.C. Fields' classic pool room routine and Orson Welles' marvelous magic act (with a stunning Marlene Dietrich as an assistant) are right at the top. Kudos also to Dinah Shore, bringing her shimmering vocal prowess to several numbers, including "I'll Walk Alone" and "I'll Get By." Sophie Tucker's roof raising, clarion voice also deserves mention, as does Louis Jourdan's irresistible "Is You Is Or Is You Ain't," George Raft's nimble raindance to "Sweet Georgia Brown" and a nifty medley by the Andrews Sisters. Like most films of this sort, Boys goes on a bit too long, despite the generally high quality of the talent involved. As a film, it's no great shakes, but as a smorgasbord of entertainment, it's pretty good.