It’s a dynamic linking of World War I and II with its respective soldier shows – Yip Yip Yaphank and This Is the Army, both by Irving Berlin. It’s showmanship and patriotism combined to a super-duper Yankee Doodle degree.
Skillfully linked are both generations, with George Murphy capital as the yesteryear musicomedy star who suffers a leg injury, which doesn’t curb his skill as a theatrical impresario post-1918, and Ronald Reagan, as Johnny Jones, his son, who carries the romance interest in World War II. George Tobias and Julie Oshins are father-and-son to span both periods, and Joan Leslie is the 1943 femme offspring of Charles Butterworth, another of the ‘Yip Yip Yaphankers’. She is the romantic vis-a-vis to Reagan.
But putting the story aside, the socko Berlin songs – 17 of them – tie the whole package together.
Under the Jack Warner-Hal Wallis production supervision and with Mike Curtiz’s expert direction – all of whom donated their services, along with the rest of it – This Is the Army looks like a $3 million Technicolor production instead of the $1.4 million it cost to bring it in.
1943: Best Scoring of a Musical Picture.
Nominations: Best Color Art Direction, Sound