Stripped of its anti-Red angle, Red Salute resolves itself down to a weak take-off of It Happened One Night. While it is studded here and there with pungent humor, after the first few rounds the rough, wisecracking exchange between Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Young begins to pall.
Preachment which Salute seeks to espouse stems from the agitation against war by student groups on various college campuses. Into this topical idea is woven the story of a young radical orator (Hardie Albright) who is loved by the general’s daughter (Stanwyck), the efforts of her father to keep them apart, and the new romance that comes into her life when an enlisted man (Young) goes AWOL to help her escape from Mexico and back to her lover.
Stanwyck does a crack job at holding interest. Another telling performance is that of Young as the reckless soldier who pulls many a misdemeanor, including the kidnaping of a tourist trailer and its owner, while pursued by border police. Showing by Albright is as all-sided as the political arguments that the script [from a story by Humphrey Pearson] assigns him to voice on the platform.
During the first day’s showing at the Rivoli, NY, patriots and youths allied with the anti-war National Student League climaxed their contending rounds of applause, hissing and booing with several fist fights. Out on the sidewalk girl and boy Student Leaguers distributed handbills urging a boycott of the picture