‘Something for the Boys’ | Sunday Observer
Retro reviews: Cinema of yesteryear

‘Something for the Boys’

15 November, 2020

This week’s Retro Reviews: Cinema of Yesteryear continues to look atanother movie along the theme of Hollywood musicals of the 1940s that bring to the fore the American war hero when the US was forging ahead in the Second World War.

Directed by Lewis Seiler ‘Something for the Boys’ brings amusement in the form of comedy with a facet of romance couched in the liveliness of a musical that carries the element of a ‘show spectacle’ with vibrant choreography and attractive sets.

What is interesting to note about the background of this movie is that the screenplay, which was written by Robert Ellis, Helen Logan and Frank Gabrielson, was based on the 1943 Broadway Musical of the same name.

Here is a classic example of how popular Broadway musicals inspired Hollywood musicals to bring the story on stage to the big screen!

Three cousins

The premise of ‘Something for the Boys’ revolves around the events that unfold after three cousins meet for the first time at the office of Attorney-at-Law Col. Jefferson L. Calhoun following the passing of their uncle who had named the three of them his joint heirs. Chiquita Hart, played by Miranda, Harry played by Phil Silvers and Blossom played by Vivian Blaine, are declared the joint owners of their late uncle’s large plantation in Masonville which is an estate that has its own grand southern country manor house.

However, on arrival to claim their inheritance, the three cousins see what a ramshackle dilapidated liability they have inherited in the form of the manor which is in need of a great amount of renovation.

The three cousins are in poor financial circumstances and have no money to repair the house.

They come to learn that paying the plantation's various property and inheritance taxes will put them deeply in debt! While the three cousins are in despair over the great burden they have inherited, Staff Sgt. Ronald "Rocky" Fulton, played by Michael O'Shea, who was a popular orchestra leader before starting on his military career, arrives at the mansion and inquires as to whether the current owners would consider renting out the house to the wives of the servicemen of nearby Camp Dixon, who have been unable to live close to their husbands due to a lack of housing.

The condition of the manor is seen as the main obstacle to take up the offer since to fix it up would cost a considerable amount of money.

However, Rocky offers to bring in his men to help fix up the place and thus the offer quickly gets accepted. Rocky and Blossom who share a passion for music and singing soon find a romance beginning between them.

Rocky suggests that they put on a musical show to raise funds for the renovations and the three cousins get on board with the idea which rolls out a grand plan for the manor to become a venue that attracts revenue.

Open rivalry

However, on the day the manor is to open, Blossom is stunned by the arrival of Melanie Walker, played by Sheila Ryan, a snobbish, rich woman, who Rocky is forced to admit is his fiancé.

Blossom is thus made to feel like a fool who fell for the charms of Rocky whom she thinks was simply playing around with her! This twist in the flow of what seemed like a smooth plan sets the stage for a series of events that cause an open rivalry to erupt between the cousins and Melanie Walker who comes from an influential background.

Before the show, Rocky explains to Chiquita that he loves only Blossom and that he does not intend to marry Melanie and that he is sincere about his feelings for Blossom.

Chiquita advises him to prove himself to Blossom as she is now heartbroken.

The show that marks the opening of the manor proves a big success. And Chiquita advises Blossom to fight for Rocky if she loves him.

Through a course of events, Melanie Walker gets shown out the door, the manor is declared off limits to all military personnel by the senior officers and thereby closing the manor’s operations as a lodge for the servicemen’s wives, which leaves the three cousins in a rather problematic situation.

Ingenious plan

The plantation and the manor are soon requisitioned by the US military for a war games manoeuvre and in the course of it, Rocky sneaks into the manor in the hope of speaking to Blossom to set the record straight.

Being captured as an ‘enemy’ by soldiers of the opposing side in the war game who were inside the manor along with its owners, Rocky is made to sit tight inside the manor and thus gets a chance to clear the misunderstanding with Blossom about his earlier relationship with Melanie Walker.

Reconciliation begins to rise slowly and soon, the three cousins come up with a most elaborate and ingenious plan that leads to helping Rocky’s side ‘capture’ the manor and win the war game.

The fair rapport and good impressions created between the owners of the manor and the senior officers in the military sees the ‘off-limits’ sign being removed and the manor once again being made a site of much happiness for the military men and their wives.

The film ends with rocky and blossom resuming their courtship and all heartaches being forgotten. A movie with captivating musical elements and hilarious antics, ‘Something for the Boys’ is a light hearted comedy that will surely please cinema lovers who appreciate the glamour of the golden era of Hollywood.