Verna: USO Girl

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Verna: USO Girl
VernaUSO.JPG
Verna: U.S.O. Girl DVD
Directed by Ronald F. Maxwell
Produced by Ron Maxwell
Written by Albert Innaurato
Starring Sissy Spacek
William Hurt
Music by Jerome Kern, George Gershwin
Cinematography Beda Batka
Distributed by Public Broadcasting Service
Release dates
  • January 25, 1978 (1978-01-25) (U.S.)
Running time
90 min.
Country United States
Language English

Verna: USO Girl is a movie made for television (PBS)

Based on a Paul Gallico story, it focuses on untalented singer-dancer Verna Vain, who fervently believes that a U.S.O. tour overseas will put her on the road to superstardom. Although she's more willing than able, her brave self-confidence wins the hearts of the beleaguered GI audiences. They embrace the dauntless Verna because she, like them, is risking her life for the sake of the American dream.

Verna's fellow troupe members include Eddie, a second-rate vaudevillian, and would-be chanteuse Maureen, who encourages Verna (of whom she observes, "She's invented a new way to sing flat and dance clumsy") to set aside her show business fantasies and accept a proposal of marriage offered by Army engineering captain Walter.

Filmed in military training areas in Hammelburg and Baumholder, Germany by director Ronald F. Maxwell, it stars Sissy Spacek, William Hurt, Howard Da Silva, and Sally Kellerman. Period songs featured in routines created by burlesque comic Joey Faye and choreographed by Donald Saddler include "I'll Get By," "Jeepers, Creepers," and "Since You Went Away."

Produced by Thirteen/WNET New York, Verna: U.S.O. Girl was broadcast nationwide by PBS as part of the Great Performances series on January 25, 1978. Da Silva won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Comedy or Drama Special, and Maxwell's direction and Innuarto's script received nominations.

"Verna's troupe is the kind of company that gives the small screen the illusion of depth. Engagingly told by talented people it can stand as a model for what made-for-TV movies could and should be." Frank Rich, Time Magazine, Jan 30, 1978

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