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At War with the Army

1950

This is a fun WWII-era B&W movie, full of Jerry Lewis and his ridiculous goofiness! Featuring Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis in their first collaboration. Jerry is a hapless private and Dean is the bossy First Sergeant of a slipshod platoon at a stateside training base. Jerry and Dean were friends who grew up in the same neighborhood before Uncle Sam made GIs out of them. All of the stereotypical military comedy characters are present, including the loudmouth drill instructor, the conniving supply sergeant, the doting corporal and the bumbling, hen-pecked company commander.


At War with the Army is a 1950 musical comedy film directed by Hal Walker and starring the comedy team of Martin and Lewis and introducing Polly Bergen. It was filmed from July through August 1949, and released on December 30, 1950 by Paramount Pictures. It was re-released in 1958 by OMAT Pictures.
Although filmed before My Friend Irma Goes West, it was held back until the sequel to Martin and Lewis' smash film debut My Friend Irma (film) was released.

Plot

Set at an army post in Kentucky at the end of 1944,<></> Vic Puccinelli and Alvin Korwin are former nightclub partners who are now enlisted in the United States Army. First Sergeant Puccinelli (Dean Martin) now ranks above his former equal, Private First Class Korwin (Jerry Lewis).
Puccinelli is desperately trying to get transferred from his dull job to active duty overseas, but is not only used transfer but is to be commissioned a Warrant Officer. Meanwhile, Korwin desperately wants a pass to see his wife and new baby. In addition, they both have to rehearse for the Army's talent show and avoid the wrath of Alvin's platoon sergeant, Sergeant McVey (Mike Kellin).
Along the way they both sing a few songs, and they do an Impressionist (entertainment) of Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald by recreating a scene from Going My Way for the talent show. Further complications include a Post Exchange worker who is pregnant, a company commander who gets all his information from his wife, a scheming supply sergeant, and a defective Coca Cola machine.

Cast

  • Dean Martin as 1st Sgt. Vic Puccinella
  • Jerry Lewis as PFC. Alvin Korwin
  • Mike Kellin as Sgt. McVey
  • Jimmie Dundee as Eddie
  • Polly Bergen as Helen
  • Dick Stabile as Pvt. Pokey
  • Jean Ruth as Millie
  • Amanda Green as Mrs. Caldwell
  • Kenneth Forbes as 2nd Lt Davenport

Production

When Martin and Lewis signed their film contract with Paramount Pictures, they were allowed to make one film "outside" the studio per year through their own company, York Productions. This film was made under that provision, with the stars taking a small salary in exchange for 90 percent of the film's profits.
However, upon its release, Martin and Lewis ended up in a long, drawn-out legal battle. After several years, they relinquished all financial interest in this film in exchange for not having to make any more of these "outside" ones. The copyright on this film was not renewed in 1977, resulting in its public domain status.
The film is based on a play by James B. Allardice that ran for 151 performances from 1948-49 with Mike Kellin and Kenneth Forbes repeating their roles.<></>
The producers opened up the play by adding a sequence of an Absent Without Leave Lewis in Drag (clothing) fending off the amorous advances of his drunken platoon sergeant, a sequence on an obstacle course and the addition of several songs written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans.
One of the later Martin and Lewis films, Sailor Beware (1952 film) had a working title of At Sea with the Navy. However, the film has since lapsed into the public domain.

DVD release date

As this film is in the public domain, there have been at least a dozen DVD releases from a variety of companies over the years.

See also

  • List of films in the public domain

  • Notes




    Category:1950 films
    Category:1950s musical comedy films
    Category:Military humor in film
    Category:American musical comedy films
    Category:World War II films
    Category:Films based on plays
    4.33
    Fred F. Finklehoffe, Abner J. Greshler

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