ONE FOR THE BOOK (THE VOICE OF THE TURTLE)
(director: Irving Rapper; screenwriter: John Van Drutan/from the play by John Van Drutan/Charles Hoffman; cinematographer: Sol Polito; editor: Rudi Fehr; music: Max Steiner; cast: Ronald Reagan (Sergeant Bill Page), Eleanor Parker (Sally Middleton), Kent Smith (Kenneth Bartlett), Wayne Morris (Cmdr. Ned Burling), Eve Arden (Olive Lashbrooke), John Emery (George Harrington), John Holland (Henry Atherton), Erskine Sanford (store-keeper); Runtime: 102; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Charles Hoffman; Warner Brothers; 1947)
“The less than talented thespian Ronald Reagan gives one of his more pleasing performances.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Witty WW II romcom, based on the hit Broadway play (1943-1948) by John Van Drutan. The stage stars were Elliott Nugent and Margaret Sullavan. The less than talented thespian Ronald Reagan gives one of his more pleasing performances, a little less wooden than he usually is. Director Irving Rapper(“Now, Voyager”/”Rhapsody in Blue”/”Marjorie Morningstar”) keeps things moving along with genial cuteness.
The story is set in December of 1944. Nice guy Sergeant Bill Page (Ronald Reagan) is on a week-end leave in Manhattan and arranges for a date with sassy and self-absorbed Broadway actress Olive Lashbrooke (Eve Arden), someone he hasn’t seen in two years. But at the last minute Olive decides she would rather go out with another old boyfriend, someone also not seen for years, Cmdr. Ned Burling (Wayne Morris). Olive brushes Bill off by fibbing that she’s married and her hubby is on a week-end leave. Since Olive is visiting her pretty neurotic actress friend, Sally Middleton (Eleanor Parker), in her new 63rd St. apartment, she has Bill drop by there to get the change in plans in person. When Olive leaves, Bill is made to feel welcome by Sally and they dine out in her fancy neighborhood French restaurant. Since Bill is unable to get a hotel room, he stays overnight and acts like the perfect gentleman sleeping alone on the couch. The lovelorn Sally has just been dumped by her gentleman boyfriend, theater producer Kenneth Bartlett (Kent Smith), and the socially awkward and sentimental actress learns over the week-end that she no longer loves the marriage averse Kenneth and thereby hooks up with the regular guy sergeant.
Nothing earth-shattering, but pleasant, lively and diverting, following the now familiar story arc of “no rooms in town.” It reflects the changing times created by the war, whereby a man can sleep in the same apartment as a single woman and the incident not be considered immoral by the modern-day sophisticates. The three-character play is slightly broadened, and transfers well to film. It’s alternate title, Voice of the Turtle, is derived from a Bible quote from the Song of Solomon: “The rain is over and the winter is past, and the ‘voice of the turtle’ is heard in the land.” The pic is big on letting us know that once we get rid of the dreary winter that spring is on the way and everything will be joyous.
REVIEWED ON 6/12/2013 GRADE: B