The cinematic yang to the yin of Meet John Doe. Whereas in Frank Capra’s inspirational tale, a poor joe gets tapped by a crooked party boss to help grease the political machine, then fights to regain his integrity, in Sturges’ cynical story (which beat Capra’s to the screen by several months), a poor joe also gets tapped by a crooked party boss to help grease the political machine ñ then really likes it. Only a misguided impulse toward honesty threatens his brilliant career. Donlevy isn’t Sturges’ most appealing lead, but he’ll do, and Tamiroff really works it as his patron, the Boss. See the recent Austin Chronicle piece at www.auschron.com/issues/dispatch/2000-01-14/screens_feature.html. The Austin Film Society's Preston Sturges Film Festival.
This is the master of subversion's most subversive work, a wartime romantic comedy built around a small-town sweetheart getting drunk and knocked up by a soldier she can't remember. Sturges covers himself by saying his heroine got married before she did the horizontal bop, but even so, the plot is a radical departure for the time.