Producer Arthur Freed and director Vincente Minnelli, the combination that scored so heavily with the Judy Garland musical, Meet Me in St. Louis, show their versatility in this picture which is straight drama sans any music. It’s her first straight dramatic role. The entire story takes place in the 48 hours that Cpl Joe Allen (Walker) is on furlough in NY City.
Minnelli has the knack of getting deep meaning into little footage. For instance, the beanery scene where the jolly inebriate (Keenan Wynn) spouts about life and America. The entire sequence is probably four minutes long, but it is real meat.
Then there’s a sequence after the boy and girl get hitched at City Hall. They’re sitting in a self-service restaurant, and Garland is weeping because of the unattractiveness of the entire ceremony. The camera keeps concentrated on a lone diner, an unbilled character who just sits there and chews away, staring at the embarrassed couple, but not uttering a word. It is memorable humor.