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

Thursday, February 13, 2014


Maxwell, Hope and Rooney
OFF-LIMITS (aka Military Police/1953). Director: George Marshall.

Wally Hogan (Bob Hope) is a fight manager who loses his only client, the champ, when his associates trick him into joining the Army. Hogan meets a fellow named Herbert Tuttle (Mickey Rooney), who hopes to become a boxer and gets Hogan to take him on. This puts a crimp in Hogan's romance with club owner and singer Connie (Marilyn Maxwell of The Show-Off), who is Herbert's aunt and doesn't want him to fight. It all leads to mostly forgettable complications. The picture was originally titled Military Police because the boys become MP's. As was the case with most of his movies, especially the later ones like this, Hope doesn't so much act as saunter jovially through the movie. Rooney, who actually does give a performance, is more subdued than usual. Hope's character has a bevy of marriage-minded women -- all of them hot babes, natch, who would normally be out of his league -- chasing after him while Rooney isn't even given a girlfriend. This is Hope's picture, and one suspects Rooney was never allowed to forget it, even though he's more appealing than ol' ski-nose. Maxwell is Maxwell. Eddie Mayehoff is the uptight but likable commanding officer. The best scene is a riotous and very well-choreographed free-for-all in Connie's club with virtually everyone swinging at somebody else. There's also a cat-fight between Carolyn Jones and another one of the ladies positively panting for Hope.

Verdict: Neither Hope nor Rooney's best but it has its moments, however few. **.

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