At War with the Army

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At War with the Army
Atwarwiththearmy.jpg
1958 theatrical reissue poster
Directed by Hal Walker
Produced by Fred Finklehoffe
Written by James Allardice (play)
Fred Finklehoffe
Starring Dean Martin
Jerry Lewis
Mike Kellin
Jimmy Dundee
Polly Bergen
Release dates
  • December 30, 1950 (1950-12-30)
Running time 93 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $3.35 million (US rentals)[1]

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. 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 was released.

Plot[edit]

Set at an army post in Kentucky at the end of 1944,[2] 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 refused 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 impression 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[edit]

Production[edit]

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.[3]

The producers opened up the play by adding a sequence of an Absent Without Leave Lewis in drag 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 had a working title of At Sea with the Navy.[4]

Copyright status[edit]

This film's copyright was registered to York Pictures Corp. and Screen Associates, Inc. on January 23, 1951 (LP 679), and was renewed on December 7, 1979 (RE43009).[5] However, the film has since lapsed into the public domain.

DVD release date[edit]

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[edit]

References[edit]

Hurst, Walter (1989). Film Superlist: Motion Pictures in the U.S. Public Domain (1950-1959). Hollywood Film Archive. ISBN 0-913616-29-X. 

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ 'The Top Box Office Hits of 1951', Variety, January 2, 1952
  2. ^ The Broadway League. "At War With the Army | IBDB: The official source for Broadway Information". IBDB. Retrieved 2012-01-14. 
  3. ^ The Broadway League. "At War With the Army | IBDB: The official source for Broadway Information". IBDB. Retrieved 2012-01-14. 
  4. ^ p.16 Billboard 4 Aug 1951
  5. ^ Film Superlist: Motion Pictures in the U.S. Public Domain (1950 - 1959), page 20.

External links[edit]