KEEP YOUR POWDER DRY
(director: Edward Buzzell; screenwriter: George Bruce/Mary C. McCall Jr.; cinematographer: Ray June; editor: Frank Hull; music: David Snell; cast: Lana Turner (Valerie Parks), Laraine Day (Leigh Rand), Susan Peters (Ann Darrison), Agnes Moorehead (Lt. Col. Spottiswoode), Bill Johnson (Captain Bill Barclay), Natalie Schafer (Harriet Corwin), Lee Patrick (Gladys Hopkins), Jess Barker (Junior Vanderheusen), June Lockhart (Sarah Swanson), Pierre Watkin (Lorrison); Runtime: 93; MPAA Rating: NR producer: George Haight; MGM; 1945-B/W)
“Innocuous patriotic film about WAC recruits during World War II.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Edward Buzzell (“Neptune’s Daughter”/”Song of the Thin Man”) weakly directs this innocuous patriotic film about WAC recruits during World War II. It’s flatly written by George Bruce and Mary C. McCall, Jr..
It follows 3 disparate women who for different reasons join the Women’s Army Corps. Lana Turner is a debutante whose attorney (Pierre Watkin) tells her it’s a good idea that she enlist so the trustees will think she’s responsible before they let her inherit her trust fund from her wealthy family. Susan Peters is the devoted wife of a soldier sent overseas, who feels the need to serve like her hubby. Laraine Day is the cold potato ‘army brat’ from a military family, with her father an active Army general. The women are in the same basic training squad in Iowa, where the rigid, by the book, Laraine clashes with the free spirit beauty Lana. The sweet Susan tries to calm both of them down. After basic training they are assigned together in Motor Transport, and the rivals make a truce. The girls are all accepted into Officers’ Candidate School, where the bossy Laraine, made cadet commander, tries to get Lana ejected for disobeying a rule over housing. From here-on we get lessons on what it takes to be a good officer and are shown that people can change for the better. If you’re looking for a comedy or a good ‘buddy’ film or some involving drama, you get nothing here but a dull story, cliches and an unconvincing upbeat message on military service.
After the film was released, Susan Peters suffered a spinal injury from a hunting accident caused by a shotgun that left her paralyzed from the waist down. She tried for a comeback in a wheelchair in The Sign of the Ram (1948), but she sadly never acted again and died of starvation in 1952 at age 31.
REVIEWED ON 6/26/2018 GRADE: C https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/