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

Thursday, October 5, 2017


Battling Beauties? William Bendix and Dennis O'Keefe
ABROAD WITH TWO YANKS (1944). Director: Allan Dwan.

"I came over here to wear a uniform, not a girdle!" -- Biff

Biff (William Bendix) and Jeff (Dennis O'Keefe), two marines on leave in Australia,  are more or less friendly rivals (although the casting of the handsome O'Keefe doesn't exactly level the playing field!), especially when it comes to women. Jeff pretends to be Biff so he can get in good with Joyce (Helen Walker), who is anxious to meet Biff because he saved the life of family friend, Cyril (John Loder). The first half of the film, in which Jeff tries to maintain the impersonation while Biff suggests to Joyce that his "pal" has mental troubles, is pretty average and even silly, but the picture certainly picks up in the second half. For unaccountable reasons the Marine sergeant wants some of the guys to dress up as gals during a show, but both Biff and Jeff take off in drag with the latter intent on proposing to Joyce while the former wants Cyril to have a shot at it. There are hilarious developments as these two gals romp around a social event trying to get the better of the other one. William Bendix [The Big Steal], always a fine actor in either comedy or drama, has a ball playing the sensitive, likable but feisty Biff, while O'Keefe also offers a fine comic performance as his hated buddy. A highlight is watching Bendix warbling "All I Need is a Man!" Helen Walker [Nightmare Alley] might seem an odd choice for this kind of material but she's winning throughout. John Loder is blandly professional, as usual. Walker and O'Keefe also appeared in Brewster's Millions, in  which they were not nearly as effective.

Verdict: After a slow start, this is a very funny service comedy. ***.

No comments: