Never Wave at a Wac (January 28, 1953)
Released on January 28, 1953: A Wacky comedy about a Washington socialite who joins the Women's Army Corps to get a free ride to Paris, but discovers soon that she is in the army now.
Produced by Frederick Brisson
Directed by Norman Z. McLeod
Written by Ken Englund from a story by Frederick Kohner and Frederick Brady.
The Actors: Rosalind Russell (Josephine 'Jo' McBain), Paul Douglas (Andrew McBain), Marie Wilson (Clara Schneiderman and Danger O'Dowd), William Ching (Lieutenant Colonel 'Sky' Fairchild), Arleen Whelan (Sergeant Toni Wayne), Leif Erickson (Sergeant Norbert 'Noisy' Jackson), Hillary Brooke (First Lieutenant Phyllis Turnbull), Charles Dingle (Senator Tom Reynolds, Jo's father), Lurene Tuttle (Captain Murchinson, Company Commanding Officer), Regis Toomey (General Ned Prager), Frieda Inescort (Lily Mae Gorham, Jo's personal secretary), Louise Beavers (Artamesa, Jo's maid), General Omar N. Bradley (himself), Vince Townsend Jr. (Henry, Jo's servant), Marjorie Bennett (Mrs. Martha Pratt), Joan Blair (Major Thompson), Larry J. Blake (Mr. Devlin), Truman Bradley (narrator), Norma Busse (Sergeant interviewing Clara), Lucia Carroll (Lieutenant Kohler, General Bradley's secretary), Virginia Christine (Lieutenant Myles, recruiting officer), James Conaty (party guest), Jean Dean (Private Mickey Fogarty), Bess Flowers (Catherine, party guest), Helen Foster (Captain Finch), Allan Frank (Colonel Colfax), Jo Gilbert (civilian doctor at induction center), John Hamilton (Senator Holbrook), Frances Helm (Lieutenant Green), Peter Leeds (Nick Laharis), Louise Lorimer (Colonel Fullbright), Marya Marco (Private Teresa Tonoku), Anita Martell (Private Penny North), Madelon Mitchell (Captain McGrady), Frances Morris (Major Cartwright), Jane Seymour (Lieutenant Colonel Hubbard), Bernadine Simpson (Private Gussie Gustafson), Barbara Jane Smith (Captain Malloy), Howard Smith (Major General Prentiss), Paul Smith (testing Sergeant), Olan Soule (Lieutenant Constable, Quartermaster Corps), Herb Vigran (cheesecake photographer), Barbara Woodell (Captain Smith), Frances Zucco (Prudence Hopewell).
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Sometimes it seems that America is always fighting one war or another . . . it is 1953, and WWII is over, there is peace and prosperity, but somehow there is a new conflict in Korea that we must fight, and Hollywood turns on the movie-war machine and cranks out another Army comedy-drama for the war effort. Rosalind Russell and Paul Douglas, two of my favorite actors, bring a new and refreshing twist of comedy and drama to this story.
As this old movie classic opens we meet Jo McBain, society woman, daughter of a U.S. Senator, and very influential person in the Washington, D.C. political arena. She is hosting a party for the creme of the Washington movers and shakers. We then meet her ex-husband Andrew, a man that invents new materials for the uniforms of our soldiers to keep them as comfortable as possible as they fight for freedom around the world. He has dropped in to retrieve some books and equipment for his next project that he left in the house before they split apart. He is Paul Douglas, a veteran actor with a heart of gold. Although he has a bit too much tummy to have six-pack abs, you still just want to hug him when you are feeling down. We also meet her new boyfriend, the tall, dark and handsome Colonel that would be every woman's dream. We discover that he is being assigned to a NATO post in Paris, allong with a beautiful female aide that Jo is immediately jealous of. She is worried that her Colonel will forget her, and fall for his aide after being in Paris for a while. After the party, while talking with her Senator - Father, he suggests that she join the Army, and the Senator can arrange it so that she can serve next to her Colonel boyfriend in Paris. We can see immediately that this is a plan that will quickly go awry.
Jo Joins the WAC's, sure that withing days she will get an officer's commission and enjoy the life of a top officer in Paris, near her new boyfriend. Of course, the Army has other ideas. At one point her superiors check up the ladder of command, to the office of General Omar Bradley, who makes a cameo appearence in this motion picture. But when Daddy Senator is finally asked about giving her a commission, daddy wisely advises that she wants no commission, but rather wants to grow from the bottom up, starting with boot camp! The predictable crises arise as the society lady is broken down to the life of a boot-camp private, with the added element of her involvement in a group of 'volunteers' assigned to help her ex-husband research clothing materials for new outfits to be used in frozen climates. He succeeds in keeping his ex-wife away from her handsome Colonel for several weeks, until she breaks, and requests to be dismissed from the Army. After much soul-searching, she is given permission to leave, and she decides to return to her socialite life in Washington. On the evening before she leaves, there is a party to celebrate the graduation of her unit she and her ex husband fondly remember their better days, and almost get back together, but do not. The next morning her Colonel boyfriend picks her up and together they start to leave the base, planning to marry the next day. But suddenly, on their way out of the base . . . Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.
Barbara Jane Smith
Frieda Inescort and Rosalind Russell
General Omar N. Bradley
Hillary Brooke and Regis Toomey
Hillary Brooke, Rosalind Russell and William Ching
Howard Smith, Rosalind Russell and Jane Seymour
Jo GIlbert and Rosalind Russell
Leif Erickson and Arleen Whelan
Leif Erickson sees the girls
Marie Wilson and Leif Erickson
Marie Wilson and Rosalind Russell
Paul Douglas and Charles Dingle
Paul Douglas and Howard Smith
Paul Douglas and Leif Erickson
Paul Douglas and Rosalind Russell
Rosalind Russell and Charles Dingle
Rosalind Russell and Lurene Tuttle
Rosalind Russell and Vince Townsend Jr.
William Ching kisses Rosalind Russell