Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, October 22, 2015


OPERATION BULLSHINE (1959). Director: Gilbert Gunn.

On a remote English Army base during WW2, there is a full complement of female soldiers as well as men. Lt. Gordon Brown (Donald Sinden) is secretly married -- against orders -- to one of the lady soldiers, Betty (Barbara Murray), which causes complications when she arrives at the base. The chief complication is private Marge White (Carole Lesley), a vivacious blonde who has set her sights on Gordon. When the two ladies both wind up in a hotel room with Gordon, his commanding officer, Major Pym (Naunton Wayne of The Hidden Room/Obsession) is appalled. Can everything be straightened out? Operation Bullshine is not as smarmy as you might imagine, although it can't avoid the usual condescension towards women of this era. The three leads are all attractive and capable, although the movie never actually erupts into hilarity. Except for one brief sequence, you would never know there's a war going on. This is really a drawing room/mistaken identity picture disguised as a military comedy. Pretty Lesley could have been considered England's answer to Marilyn Monroe, whom she resembles, only she doesn't quite have Monroe's mystique or panache; tragically she committed suicide at 38. John Cairney, who was in Jason and the Argonauts, plays Gunner Willie Ross, who sings with a dubbed voice more than once. Gilbert Gunn also directed The Cosmic Monsters/Strange World of Planet X.

Verdict: Appealing cast puts this over. **1/2.

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