Rally Round the Flag, Boys!

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Rally Round the Flag, Boys!
Poster of the movie Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys!.jpg
Directed by Leo McCarey
Produced by Leo McCarey
Written by Max Shulman (novel)
Claude Binyon
Leo McCarey (screenplay)
Starring Paul Newman
Joanne Woodward
Joan Collins
Narrated by David Hedison
Music by Cyril J. Mockridge
Cinematography Leon Shamroy
Edited by Louis R. Loeffler
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date
  • December 23, 1958 (1958-12-23)
Running time
106 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $1,870,000[1]
Box office $3.4 million (est. US/ Canada rentals)[2]

Rally Round the Flag, Boys! is a 1958 film adaptation of the novel of the same name by Max Shulman, directed by Leo McCarey, starring Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, and released by 20th Century Fox. The title comes from a line in the song "Battle Cry of Freedom".

Plot summary[edit]

In the fictional town of Putnam's Landing, Harry Bannerman (Paul Newman) is slowly going insane because his wife Grace (Joanne Woodward) insists on attending every civic committee meeting. When the government selects their town for their new missile base, Grace joins a committee to stop it. Harry is made the liaison for the military, and Grace's activities cause him no end of trouble. Added to the dilemma is Angela Hoffa (Joan Collins), whose efforts to get Harry for herself lead to dizzying recriminations and misunderstandings.



Production on Rally Round the Flag, Boys! started in mid-June 1958 and ended in mid-August. The role of Captain Hoxie was originally going to be portrayed by Paul Douglas, but was taken over by Jack Carson after Douglas fell ill, according to a July 1958 The Hollywood Reporter news item.[citation needed]

The part of Angela was originally intended for blonde bombshell Jayne Mansfield, but after intense lobbying from Paul Newman and his wife Joanne Woodward,[citation needed] she was replaced with Joan Collins (who had co-starred with Mansfield in The Wayward Bus).

A March 1958 item[citation needed] noted that actor Mickey Shaughnessy was set for a featured role; however, he did not appear in the film. A Daily Variety news item[citation needed] reported that in March 1958, Buddy Adler was set to produce the movie, and was considering the film to star Frank Sinatra, Deborah Kerr and William Holden.

Release and reception[edit]

Rally Round the Flag, Boys! premiered in New York City theatres on December 23, 1958. It was released nationwide in February 1959.

The film currently holds a 25% "Rotten" rating at RottenTomatoes.com.


Rally Round the Flag, Boys! was nominated for the Golden Laurel Awards held on September 23, 1959 and received 4th place for both Top Comedy Female Performance (Joanne Woodward) and Top Comedy. Director Leo McCarey was later nominated for the Directors Guild of America Award in 1960 for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures for Rally Round the Flag, Boys!.


  1. ^ Solomon, Aubrey. Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History (The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1989. ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1. p251
  2. ^ "1959: Probable Domestic Take", Variety, 6 January 1960 p 34

External links[edit]