Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys! (1959)

106 mins | Screwball comedy | February 1959

Director:

Leo McCarey

Producer:

Leo McCarey

Cinematographer:

Leon Shamroy

Editor:

Louis Loeffler

Production Designers:

Lyle Wheeler, Leland Fuller

Production Company:

Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
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HISTORY

The film's title card reads, "Leo McCarey's Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys ." The picture begins with the following voice-over narration: "This is the village of Putnam Landing. Located some fifty miles North of New York City on Long Island Sound, rich in history and tradition, Putnam's Landing was founded in 1628 by one Samuel Putnam. There is very little to be said about Samuel Putnam, as the day he landed he was scalped. It was the last really interesting thing that happened in Putnam's Landing for more than three hundred years. This is the crack commuting train. The 5:29 from Grand Central makes its run in an hour and ten minutes. These are the happy commuters. In the last five years, these contented country dwellers have made 1,250 round trips. That means they have each wasted a total of 2,920 and 2/3 man hours aboard this train." The narration is spoken over a montage of images of Putnam's Landing, ending with the bored faces of the men on the communter train as they congregate in the raucous bar car. Although the Var review lists Gale Gordon's character as "Col. Thorwald," he is called "General" in the film.
       HR news items yield the following information about the film: Jack Carson replaced Paul Douglas as "Capt. Hoxie" after Douglas fell ill, according to a Jul 1958 item. A Jul 1957 item stated that Max Shulman was preparing a screen treatment based on his novel. A Mar 1958 item notes that the studio was negotiating with Richard Widmark for a top comedy role in the picture, and ... More Less

The film's title card reads, "Leo McCarey's Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys ." The picture begins with the following voice-over narration: "This is the village of Putnam Landing. Located some fifty miles North of New York City on Long Island Sound, rich in history and tradition, Putnam's Landing was founded in 1628 by one Samuel Putnam. There is very little to be said about Samuel Putnam, as the day he landed he was scalped. It was the last really interesting thing that happened in Putnam's Landing for more than three hundred years. This is the crack commuting train. The 5:29 from Grand Central makes its run in an hour and ten minutes. These are the happy commuters. In the last five years, these contented country dwellers have made 1,250 round trips. That means they have each wasted a total of 2,920 and 2/3 man hours aboard this train." The narration is spoken over a montage of images of Putnam's Landing, ending with the bored faces of the men on the communter train as they congregate in the raucous bar car. Although the Var review lists Gale Gordon's character as "Col. Thorwald," he is called "General" in the film.
       HR news items yield the following information about the film: Jack Carson replaced Paul Douglas as "Capt. Hoxie" after Douglas fell ill, according to a Jul 1958 item. A Jul 1957 item stated that Max Shulman was preparing a screen treatment based on his novel. A Mar 1958 item notes that the studio was negotiating with Richard Widmark for a top comedy role in the picture, and a Jun 1958 item states that Mickey Shaughnessey was set for a featured role. Schaughnessy does not appear in the released film, however, A DV news item adds that in Mar 1958, Buddy Adler was set to produce the film and was considering Frank Sinatra, Deborah Kerr and William Holden to star.
       Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward married prior to the production of this picture. Although the film shows "Hoxie" and "Leo" being shot into space, in reality, the first chimp flight into space took place in Jan 1961. On 5 May 1961, Alan Shepard piloted the first manned space flight. Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys! marked the screen debut of Jack Ging. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
5 Jan 1959.
---
Daily Variety
28 Mar 1958.
---
Daily Variety
24 Dec 58
p. 3.
Film Daily
23 Dec 58
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Jul 57
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Mar 58
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Jun 58
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Jun 58
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Jun 58
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jul 58
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Aug 58
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Dec 58
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
27 Dec 58
p. 100.
New York Times
24 Dec 58
p. 2.
Variety
24 Dec 58
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Asst cam
Asst cam
Gaffer
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
Props
COSTUMES
Exec ward des
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hair styles
Makeup
Body makeup
Hair dresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Scr supv
Painter
Best boy
Craft serviceman
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col consultant
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys! by Max Shulman (New York, 1957).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Seein' as How You're Mah Boojum," words and music by Leo McCarey.
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Release Date:
February 1959
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 23 December 1958
Production Date:
mid June--mid August 1958
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
24 December 1958
Copyright Number:
LP12677
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex Recording System
Color
De Luxe
Widescreen/ratio
CinemaScope
Lenses/Prints
lenses by Bausch & Lomb
Duration(in mins):
106
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
19108
SYNOPSIS

Arriving at the Putnam Landing train station, commuter Harry Bannerman wonders why his wife Grace is not there to pick him up. Angela Hoffa, the alluring, neglected wife of television writer Oscar Hoffa, is awaiting her husband, and when she learns that he has missed his train, she offers Harry a ride home. As Angela enumerates her marital woes, Harry protests that he is a happily married man. Upon arriving home, Harry finds his harried wife Grace absorbed in her pursuit of civic duties. When Harry complains about Grace's constant committee meetings, Grace breaks into tears and then tantalizes Harry with the promise of a romantic evening at the St. Regis Hotel in New York the following Tuesday. That night, during a town meeting to discuss a proposed garbage dump, Harry entertains romantic fantasies about his wife until his reverie is interrupted by the news that the Army has bought the dump site for a top secret project. When the town decides to form a committee to stop the Army, Grace is nominated as head and appoints Harry, a public relations expert, as their emissary to Washington. Grace then suggests he meet with Army officials the following Tuesday, effectively canceling their "second honeymoon" in New York. When Grace stays late at the meeting, Harry drives Angela home. Several drinks later, Angela slips into a slinky outfit, and they lurch into a drunken dance that ends with Harry swinging from the chandelier. Meanwhile, Comfort Goodpasture, the Bannermans' teenage babysitter, suddenly discovers boys and allows Grady Metcalf, the town delinquent, to tutor her in the art of kissing. In Washington, Harry ... +


Arriving at the Putnam Landing train station, commuter Harry Bannerman wonders why his wife Grace is not there to pick him up. Angela Hoffa, the alluring, neglected wife of television writer Oscar Hoffa, is awaiting her husband, and when she learns that he has missed his train, she offers Harry a ride home. As Angela enumerates her marital woes, Harry protests that he is a happily married man. Upon arriving home, Harry finds his harried wife Grace absorbed in her pursuit of civic duties. When Harry complains about Grace's constant committee meetings, Grace breaks into tears and then tantalizes Harry with the promise of a romantic evening at the St. Regis Hotel in New York the following Tuesday. That night, during a town meeting to discuss a proposed garbage dump, Harry entertains romantic fantasies about his wife until his reverie is interrupted by the news that the Army has bought the dump site for a top secret project. When the town decides to form a committee to stop the Army, Grace is nominated as head and appoints Harry, a public relations expert, as their emissary to Washington. Grace then suggests he meet with Army officials the following Tuesday, effectively canceling their "second honeymoon" in New York. When Grace stays late at the meeting, Harry drives Angela home. Several drinks later, Angela slips into a slinky outfit, and they lurch into a drunken dance that ends with Harry swinging from the chandelier. Meanwhile, Comfort Goodpasture, the Bannermans' teenage babysitter, suddenly discovers boys and allows Grady Metcalf, the town delinquent, to tutor her in the art of kissing. In Washington, Harry meets with Gen. Thorwald and Capt. Hoxie, the officers in charge of the troops assigned to Putnam's Landing. After the hot-headed Hoxie announces that he would like to execute the entire town, Harry stammers and offers his public relations services to the Army. Meanwhile, Angela has decided to surprise Harry by checking into his hotel room as Mrs. Bannerman. When the desk clerk informs Harry that his wife has arrived, Harry rushes up to his room, pulls off his pants, and is bewildered to find Angela lounging in a pink dressing gown. After accidentally spilling Angela's perfume on his pants, Harry angrily tosses her a bedspread and orders her to get dressed. Angela disappears into the bathroom, just as Grace comes to surprise her husband. Unaware of Grace's presence, Angela springs out of the bathroom dancing, sending Grace storming out of the room. At home, Harry tries to explain the situation, but Grace throws him out. Soon after, Hoxie and his troops arrive in town, and the soldiers formulate a strategy to reel in the appealing teenage girls, who they term "boojoo." As Hoxie attempts to lead his men to the base, Grace and her committee block the bridge across the river. After television reporters come to cover the story, the general and Harry watch the scene on television as Hoxie plows his truck through the bridge and falls into the river to the jeers of the crowd. Sensing a publicity nightmare in the making, the general asks for Harry's help and reactivates his status as a lieutenant colonel in the Navy. Back in Putnam's Landing, Harry pleads his case with Grace and suggests using the soldiers in her July Fourth Pageant, which she has decided should have a Thanksgiving theme, as a gesture of good will. Harry insures Grace's cooperation by forging a letter from the Secretary of the Army, appealing to her patriotism. After Harry proposes casting the soldiers as the pilgrims, Grady, jealous of the attention that Comfort is lavishing on a private named Opie, convinces the local boys to play the Indians and start a war. On pageant day, Harry mans a model of The Mayflower while Hoxie leads a boat of pilgrims to shore in an enactment of the landing on Plymouth Rock. When the "Indians" tie Opie to a stake and set his shoes on fire, a brawl ensues onshore while a group of Indians swim out and sink The Mayflower with Harry onboard. Defeated, the general finally decides to reveal his secret project to the community fathers. After introducing them to a chimp named Leo, the general explains that they plan to shoot Leo into space and shows them a simulation of the mission. As Hoxie escorts Leo to the space capsule, Grace comes to the base in search of the general and is followed by Harry. After an affectionate wrestling match, they reconcile. Harry picks Grace up and sets her on the console, thus triggering the control that launches the rocket and sends sending Hoxie and Leo into space. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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