Class of '44 (1973)

PG | 95-96 or 99 mins | Comedy-drama | April 1973

Director:

Paul Bogart

Writer:

Herman Raucher

Producer:

Paul Bogart

Cinematographer:

Andrew Laszlo

Editor:

Michael A. Hoey

Production Designer:

Ben Edwards

Production Company:

Warner Bros., Inc.
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HISTORY

The opening credits run over scenes of “Hermie’s” high school graduation, including speeches given by the characters of the principal and valedictorian. Credits for Gary Grimes, Jerry Houser and Oliver Conant are presented over images of each actor singing “The Star-Spangled Banner.” In Dec 1971, HR reported that producer Richard A. Roth planned a sequel to his hit 1971 film Summer of '42 (see below), with Robert Mulligan to return as the sequel's director. Neither Roth nor Mulligan was involved in the final production of Class of '44, however, and by Jan 1972, Var announced that Paul Bogart would direct the sequel. Filmfacts stated that executive producer Harry Keller "admitt[ed] to a reporter that Class of '44 was an attempt to cash in on" the success of Summer of '42, which also starred Grimes, Hauser and Conant, who recreated their roles for the sequel.
       The film was shot on location in Toronto, with one extra shooting day in Brooklyn, NY, according to a 12 Jul 1972 Var news item. That article approximated the budget at $1 million. A modern source adds Paul O'Brien to the cast. After its release, the film received repeated criticism for lavishing attention on the period details, which critics felt came at the expense of story development. ...

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The opening credits run over scenes of “Hermie’s” high school graduation, including speeches given by the characters of the principal and valedictorian. Credits for Gary Grimes, Jerry Houser and Oliver Conant are presented over images of each actor singing “The Star-Spangled Banner.” In Dec 1971, HR reported that producer Richard A. Roth planned a sequel to his hit 1971 film Summer of '42 (see below), with Robert Mulligan to return as the sequel's director. Neither Roth nor Mulligan was involved in the final production of Class of '44, however, and by Jan 1972, Var announced that Paul Bogart would direct the sequel. Filmfacts stated that executive producer Harry Keller "admitt[ed] to a reporter that Class of '44 was an attempt to cash in on" the success of Summer of '42, which also starred Grimes, Hauser and Conant, who recreated their roles for the sequel.
       The film was shot on location in Toronto, with one extra shooting day in Brooklyn, NY, according to a 12 Jul 1972 Var news item. That article approximated the budget at $1 million. A modern source adds Paul O'Brien to the cast. After its release, the film received repeated criticism for lavishing attention on the period details, which critics felt came at the expense of story development.

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
9 Apr 1973
p. 4580
Daily Variety
19 Jul 1972
---
Filmfacts
1973
pp. 95-97
Hollywood Reporter
31 Dec 1971
---
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jun 1972
p. 10
Hollywood Reporter
1 Jul 1972
p. 9
Hollywood Reporter
15 Sep 1972
p. 10
Hollywood Reporter
2 Apr 1973
pp. 3-4
Los Angeles Herald Examiner
11 Apr 1973
Section B, p. 3
Los Angeles Times
10 Mar 1972
---
Los Angeles Times
11 Apr 1973
---
Motion Picture Herald
7 Apr 1973
---
New York Times
11 Apr 1973
p. 41
New York Times
30 Dec 1973
Section II, p. 1
Newsweek
16 Apr 1973
---
Time
16 Apr 1973
---
Variety
26 Jan 1972
---
Variety
12 Jul 1972
---
Variety
4 Apr 1973
p. 26
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
SOUND
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit prod mgr
Unit pub
Loc unit comptroller
STAND INS
Terry James Leonard
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
SOURCES
SONGS
"Blues in the Night," words by Johnny Mercer, music by Harold Arlen, performed by Jimmy Lunceford and His Orchestra, MCA Records, Inc.; "South America Way," words and music by Fernando Rivas and Luis G. Santeiro, sung by Carmen Miranda, MCA Records, Inc.; "It Can't Be Wrong," words by Kim Gannon, music by Max Steiner, sung by Dick Haymes, MCA Records, Inc.; "Mairzy Doats," words and music by Milton Drake, Al Hoffman and Jerry Livingston, sung by The Merry Macs, MCA Records, Inc.; "Along the Santa Fe Trail," words and music by Edwina Coolidge, Al Dubin and Wilhelm Grosz, performed by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra, vocal by Ray Eberle, RCA Records; "Bye Bye Blackbird," words and music by Mort Dickson and Ray Henderson, performed by The Smart Set, Warner Bros. Records; "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," music ascribed to William Steffe, lyrics by Julia Ward Howe; "The Marine's Hymn," words anonymous, music based on a theme from the opera Geneviève de Brabant by Jacques Offenbach; "The Star-Spangled Banner," traditional.
SONGWRITERS/COMPOSERS
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
April 1973
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 10 Apr 1973; Los Angeles opening: 11 Apr 1973
Production Date:
3 Jul--mid Sep 1972 in Toronto, Canada
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Warner Bros., Inc.
10 April 1973
LP42782
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Technicolor
Widescreen/ratio
Panavision
Duration(in mins):
95-96 or 99
Length(in reels):
10
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
23432
SYNOPSIS

At their high school graduation in 1944, best friends Hermie, Oscy and Benjie sing a lusty goodbye to their alma mater and endure maudlin, clichéd speeches, most of which make reference to the terrifying specter of war overseas. At a celebratory party at Hermie’s house, the graduates gather in the hallway to smoke and socialize. There, studious Hermie and girl-crazy Oscy, whose parents have insisted that they attend college rather than enlist, defend their choice, although both hope to join the military after only a year or so of school. That night, the three friends meet at the local ice cream parlor, where the gentle Benjie announces that he has joined the Marines. Oscy teases him mercilessly until Benjie’s quiet determination and patriotism impress him. Over the summer months, Hermie and Oscy toil listlessly in a warehouse, lie on the beach and socialize, all the time worrying about Benjie, from whom they have not heard. Finally Benjie surprises them one day with a visit, but must leave within hours for Brighton, from where he will be dispatched overseas. Weeks later, Hermie and Oscy board the train to their college, Oscy disdainful, Hermie memorizing football game cheers. The two room together at Mrs. Gilhuly’s boardinghouse, and when classes begin, Oscy stays busy romancing coeds while Hermie attempts to join the newspaper staff. There, he witnesses the editor excoriating the writing of pretty student Julie, who demands that Hermie judge her story, erupting in anger when he deems it incompetent. Later, she corners him in the cafeteria and asks why he failed to lie about the quality of her writing, and although he calls her crazy, he is intrigued by her ...

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At their high school graduation in 1944, best friends Hermie, Oscy and Benjie sing a lusty goodbye to their alma mater and endure maudlin, clichéd speeches, most of which make reference to the terrifying specter of war overseas. At a celebratory party at Hermie’s house, the graduates gather in the hallway to smoke and socialize. There, studious Hermie and girl-crazy Oscy, whose parents have insisted that they attend college rather than enlist, defend their choice, although both hope to join the military after only a year or so of school. That night, the three friends meet at the local ice cream parlor, where the gentle Benjie announces that he has joined the Marines. Oscy teases him mercilessly until Benjie’s quiet determination and patriotism impress him. Over the summer months, Hermie and Oscy toil listlessly in a warehouse, lie on the beach and socialize, all the time worrying about Benjie, from whom they have not heard. Finally Benjie surprises them one day with a visit, but must leave within hours for Brighton, from where he will be dispatched overseas. Weeks later, Hermie and Oscy board the train to their college, Oscy disdainful, Hermie memorizing football game cheers. The two room together at Mrs. Gilhuly’s boardinghouse, and when classes begin, Oscy stays busy romancing coeds while Hermie attempts to join the newspaper staff. There, he witnesses the editor excoriating the writing of pretty student Julie, who demands that Hermie judge her story, erupting in anger when he deems it incompetent. Later, she corners him in the cafeteria and asks why he failed to lie about the quality of her writing, and although he calls her crazy, he is intrigued by her confidence and charm. After an evening with Oscy, who is irritable because of the sexual demands of Glenda, the bakery worker he is dating, Hermie asks out Julie. She asks him to meet her that evening, and they drive in her car to the woods, where they kiss passionately. Oscy has joined the school’s disastrous football team, and after Hermie attempts to write something positive about the team for the newspaper, Julie encourages the friends to pledge the fraternity of her choice, Phi Sigma Nu. The fraternity initiation begins soon after, with the pledges submitted to various indignities. When the imperious fraternity president orders them to tie a bell to their privates with a note reading “pull me,” however, Hermie at first refuses, but finally embraces the prank, as does Oscy, who enjoys ringing his bell in class. At a dance celebrating their induction into the fraternity, Hermie presents his bell to Julie, and later in the car, after he complains that they have never consummated their love, the two have sex for the first time. Back at the fraternity house, where the boys now room, Oscy has brought Glenda, who has confessed that she is a prostitute and has asked Oscy to procure customers for her. Just as Hermie is insisting that Oscy remove Glenda and her line long of patrons from their room, Prof. Otis, who has heard there is a woman in Oscy's room, breaks in to investigate. Hours later, Oscy, expelled and planning to enlist in the Army, bids Hermie a fond goodbye. Final exams loom, and as Hermie studies tirelessly, Julie tries to tempt him into making love instead. She details for him several methods of “cribbing,” and during his exams, a nervous Hermie notes that the entire class is using the same cheating techniques. One night soon after, Julie admits that her ex-boyfriend, a corporal, will visit for the weekend, preventing her from attending the big autumn dance with Hermie. Furious, Hermie delineates all that he has “sacrificed” for her, then breaks off the relationship. She retaliates by returning his bell, prompting Hermie to verbally attack his new roommate, the outcast Marty, who has not washed his laundry for weeks. Their fight is interrupted by a phone call from Hermie’s uncle, informing him that his father has died. At home, Hermie mourns quietly, surprised and touched when Oscy, in uniform, shows up after the funeral. Oscy admits his shame that he is stationed at Governor’s Island, a desk clerk who goes home four nights a week. Hermie, who explains that although his mother wants him to return to school, he plans to enlist, finally agrees to join Oscy for a drink. Soon the two are drunk and start a fight with a group of soldiers. Battered but happy, they begin the drive home but soon run out of gas, after which Hermie marches a nearly unconscious Oscy home. Back at his house, Hermie rails that he and his father never touched, and now he cannot remember his father’s face. Days later, Hermie takes the train back to campus and upon disembarking, sees Julie awaiting, having heard about his father. As tears fall down his cheeks, she informs him that he has garnered top grades in his exams. They climb into her car, but it is hours before they return to campus.

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

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