(director: Vincent Sherman; screenwriters: Charles Hoffman/from a stage play by Rose Simon Kohn; cinematographer: Wesley Anderson; editor: Alan Crosland Jr.; music: Frederick Hollander; cast: Ida Lupino (Jean Howard), William Prince (Lt. Don Mallory), Sidney Greenstreet (Col.Michael Otley), Barbar Brown (Mrs. Kate Otley), Stu Erwin (Captain Jack Ross), Willie Best (Lucille), Frank Orth (Taxi Driver), Johnny Mitchell (Earl ‘Slim’ Clark), Ruth Donnelly (Mrs. Wingate), Dorothy Dandridge (herself), Louis Armstrong (himself), Regina Wallace (Mrs. Mallory), William Haade (Big Joe), Grady Sutton (Alex), Carol Hughes (Loolie), Paul Harvey (J. R. Howard); Runtime: 92; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Alex Gottlieb; Warner Archive Collection; 1945-B/W)

“An uninspired corny wartime screwball comedy that’s made bearable by Ida Lupino.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

An uninspired corny wartime screwball comedy that’s made bearable by Ida Lupino, in one of her rare comic roles. Vincent Sherman (“Nora Prentiss”/”All Through The Night”) directs by the numbers, from the lame script by Charles Hoffman and stiff stage play by Rose Simon Kohn. It follows a familiar plotline of a housing shortage during WW 2 and the mix ups that occur because of it. The outdated film at least has a sensational musical number, “Whatcha Say,” performed by a young Louis Armstrong and a young Dorothy Dandridge.

The headstrong Jean Howard (Ida Lupino) is the spoiled rich daughter of a Los Angeles based oil-drilling equipment company head (Paul Harvey). She talks her over-protective dad to let her go on the road as a saleswoman chasing contracts–something he thinks only men should do. After a number of failures, Jean is determined to get a contract from her last contact Slim Clark (Johnny Mitchell). He runs an oil field adjoining the army town of Clayfield, but insists she go to dinner with him before he signs the contract. Since the town is overcrowded with military people, rooms are only granted to married military couples. Jean gets a bungalow in an auto court by saying she’s married to a lieutenant, and then tricks nice guy Lt. Don Mallory (William Prince) to pose as her new husband. Problems arise when Mallory’s overbearing commander, Col. Michael Otley (Sidney Greenstreet), is also staying at the auto court, and tries to make sure the couple are married.

The harried porter Lucille is played by black character actor Willie Best. His comedy is built around his racial stereotype role (an embarrassment for today’s viewers, even if he’s a riot).

The largely forgotten feel-good comedy, with a very good cast, doesn’t deserve to be resurrected, but if looking for a harmless and genial comedy with a Hollywood-like happy ending where love conquers all, Pillow to Post should please those who are not demanding. The film is patriotic, as it also pays homage to the working-class women who helped the country in its time of need, when there was a shortage of young men at home because of the war and women were needed to take their place for certain jobs.

REVIEWED ON 1/5/2020 GRADE: C+   https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/