Musical Monday: At War with the Army (1950)

It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 500. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

This week’s musical:
At War with the Army (1950) – Musical #581

Studio:
Paramount Pictures

Director:
Hal Walker

Starring:
Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin, Polly Bergen, Mike Kellin, Jimmie Dundee, Tommy Farrell, Danny Dayton, William Mendrek, Angela Greene, Jean Ruth

Plot:
Set on an Army base during World War II, Pfc. Alvin Korwin (Lewis) and 1st Sgt. Vic Puccinelli (Martin) were friends before the war and had a nightclub act. Private Korwin wants to go home to see his newly born baby and Sgt. Puccinelli wants to be transferred overseas. Confusion ensues when a pregnant old girlfriend arrives to visit Sgt. Vic Puccinelli.

Trivia:
-Polly Bergen’s first credited film. She is billed as “Introducing Polly Bergen”
-This was Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin’s third film together, though it was the first movie used as a vehicle to solidify them as a comedic duo Jerry Lewis’s fifth film and Dean Martin’s fourth film
-Based on a 1949 play of the same name
-Rereleased in 1958

Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin in “At War with the Army” (1950)

Highlights:
-Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin doing an impression of Barry Fitzgerald and Bing Crosby from “Going My Way.”

Notable Songs:
-“You and Your Beautiful Eyes” performed by Dean Martin and Polly Bergen
-“Beans” performed by Jerry Lewis
-“Tonda Wanda Hoy” performed by Dean Martin

My review:
This film sort of got on my nerves, and I’m sure that’s an unpopular opinion.

The wacky, confused slapstick isn’t my cup of tea, but I went into this film with my eyes opened, knowing that’s what I would get. Later Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin pairings can be fun, but I feel this one is over the top since it is their first true comedic vehicle.

The best part of the movie was when Lewis and Martin did a little vaudeville-like dance routine and ended it by performing a scene from “Going My Way.” Jerry Lewis was Barry Fitzgerald and Dean Martin was Bing Crosby. Lewis was spot on with his Fitzgerald impression and it was probably the best part of the movie.

Dean Martin and Polly Bergen

Another interesting bit was that this was Polly Bergen’s first credited role. She was sort of thrown in randomly (I’m not sure if she was officially Dean Martin’s girl?) and she and Martin sing a song together.

If you’re a fan of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis duo films, this movie may be for you. However, I found it tiresome.

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2 thoughts on “Musical Monday: At War with the Army (1950)

  1. I just watched a Jerry Lewis movie for the first time, The Nutty Professor. My parents were never fans of his, so I thought I owed it to myself to see at least one of his films. It was ok, but I do think the remake with Eddie Murphy had more “heart” to it, it was a more endearing film, imho.

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