Up In Arms
At the Brattle
After a tough day sloughing through the Guadalcanal jungle, the 1944 G.I. probably found Up in Arms a blissful picture of what war might be. But ten years later, it is only a painful reminder of the low points in mass-produced wartime movies. The ingredients of this Kaye-ration are the West Coast conception of a soldier's delight: slapstick, music, sex, and patriotism. Luckily, the comedy is provided by the master of them all and Danny Kaye's git-gat-gittle and patter songs are as good now as when Sam Goldwyn first plucked him off Broadway.
Of the other three components of the film, Dinah Shore's singing takes second by default; but her acting, as a saucy WAC, is indifferent at best. Served up by Dana Andrews and Virginia Mayo, the romance is undigestible and the buffet of Goldwyn girls clad in turquoise and pink pedal-pushers is not the most authentic picture of WAC regiments.
Most disturbing of all is the patriotic propaganda which reaches its peak with two divisions of soldiers and WACs embarking for overseas with a song about "do or die for the good old flag."
When Kaye is running through a rapid-fire commentary on the movies or mouthing to a phonograph record, or even on the screen at all, Up in Arms doesn't show its age. When the picture gets landlocked in its own production numbers, it demonstrates that wartime movies, like other consumer goods, also suffered from ersatz material.