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Where Do We Go from Here?
     

Where Do We Go from Here?

Director: Gregory Ratoff, Fred MacMurray, Joan Leslie, June Haver

Cast: Gregory Ratoff, Fred MacMurray, Joan Leslie, June Haver

 
In this engagingly silly musical fantasy from the waning days of WW2, Fred MacMurray stars as Bill, who wants to serve his country but has been classified 4-F. While working at a local USO, Bill falls in love with the fickle Lucilla (June Haver, soon to be Mrs. Fred MacMurray), never realizing that he himself is worshipped from afar by the sensible Sally (Joan Leslie)

Overview

In this engagingly silly musical fantasy from the waning days of WW2, Fred MacMurray stars as Bill, who wants to serve his country but has been classified 4-F. While working at a local USO, Bill falls in love with the fickle Lucilla (June Haver, soon to be Mrs. Fred MacMurray), never realizing that he himself is worshipped from afar by the sensible Sally (Joan Leslie). Stumbling across an old lamp donated to a scrap drive, Bill impulsively rubs the lamp--and out pops Ali (Gene Sheldon), a bibulous, bumbling genie. Hoping to become a hero in Lucilla's eyes, Bill asks Ali to put him in the US Army. The genie complies, but gets his wires crossed, and Bill ends up in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. In short order, Bill meets two lookalikes of the girls in his life at "Ye U.S.O.," shows up at Valley Forge and trades quips with General Washington (Alan Mowbray)--who, in anticipation of MacArthur and Eisenhower, bombastically insists that he has no political aspirations--unsuccessfully tries to alert Washington of the duplicity of Benedict Arnold (John Davidson), and ultimately finds himself behind enemy lines with a troop of Hessians, whom he tries to hoodwink by delivering a Nuremberg-style speech, replete with "Sieg Heils." Arrested and sentenced to a Hessian firing squad, Bill again summons Ali, who whisks him off to the year 1492. In an elaborate "opera bouffe," Bill musically dissuades the sailors serving under Christopher Columbus (Fortunio Bonanova) from staging a mutiny, convincing them to continue seeking out the New World (as represented by a group of Cuban natives in a conga line). Once on dry land, Bill is entranced by a comely Indian maiden who looks a lot like Lucilla, only to be entrapped in an old-fashioned "badger game" cooked up by the girl's wily Native American boyfriend (Anthony Quinn). Buying his way out of an embarrassing situation by agreeing to purchase Manhattan Island for $24, Bill is then transported to "New Amsterdam" in the mid-1600s. In his efforts to persuade the local Dutch elders that he is the rightful owner of Manhattan, Bill succeeds only in getting arrested again. This time, however, the drunken Ali manages to zap our hero back to the 20th Century--with the 17th-century equivalent of Sally in tow. The songs, by Kurt Weill and Ira Gershwin, are appropriately bright and satirical, but none are standouts. Still, Where Do We Go From Here? is one of those frothy 1940s concoctions that is absolutely impossible to dislike.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
A number of 1940s musicals dealt with the ongoing war, but few of them in as imaginative a fashion as Where Do We Go From Here? Released near the end of the war, it failed to find an audience, perhaps because the screenplay and direction are not as fanciful as they need to be to make the whimsical, fantastic premise work. Indeed, the dialogue is often boring and director Gregory Ratoff doesn't come up with the stunning visuals needed to give the story punch. What does work -- and works extremely well -- is the score, an overlooked gem that deserves to be rediscovered by musical film aficionados. The sprightly "Morale" is a toe-tapper, and the dreamily romantic "All at Once" and engaging "If Love Remains" are worthy ballads, but the highlight of the score is the ten-minute Christopher Columbus sequence. Essentially a mini-opera, this is, for the time, revolutionary. Kurt Weill's music is wonderful throughout, and the score is filled with Ira Gershwin's sharp and witty lyrics. The cast is fine -- Fred MacMurray is actually a better singer than one would guess, and it's fun to see a young Anthony Quinn in a supporting role -- but a more musically experienced crew would have made the film stronger. The nonmusical aspects of the film keep it from being a total success, but it's an intriguing and unusual near-miss.

Product Details

Release Date:
11/20/2012
UPC:
0024543850069
Original Release:
1945
Rating:
NR
Source:
Fox Mod
Presentation:
[Full Frame]
Time:
1:17:00
Sales rank:
34,622

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Fred MacMurray Bill
Joan Leslie Sally
June Haver Lucilla
Gene Sheldon Genie/Ali
Anthony Quinn Indian Chief
Carlos Ramirez Benito
Alan Mowbray Gen. George Washington
Herman Bing Hessian Colonel
Howard Freeman Kreiger
John Davidson Benedict Arnold
Rosina Galli Old Lady
Fred Essler Dutch Councilman
Joe Bernard Burgher
Sam Bernard Warden
Fortunio Bonanova Christopher Columbus
Walter Bonn Dutchman
William Carter Service Man
Edward Clark Organist
Ralph Dunn Actor
Dick Elliott Father
Scott Elliott Actor
Norman Field Minister
Arno Frey German Lieutenant
Harrison Greene Dutch Councilman
Joe Haworth Actor
George "Gabby" Hayes Actor
Harry Holman Actor
Will Kaufman Actor
Hope Landin Elderly Wife
Ferdinand Munier Actor
Otto Preminger Gen. Rahl
Cyril Ring Army Doctor
Bert Roach Actor
Roy Rogers Actor
Ralph Sanford Policeman
Bob Stephenson Actor
Larry Thompson Soldier
Hans Von Morhart Blacksmith
Max Wagner Sergeant
Paul Weigel Actor

Technical Credits
Gregory Ratoff Director
Fanchon Choreography
Leland Fuller Art Director
Ira Gershwin Songwriter
Charles Henderson Musical Direction/Supervision
Sig Herzig Original Story
Thomas K. Little Set Decoration/Design
Emil Newman Musical Direction/Supervision
William Perlberg Producer
David Raksin Score Composer
Morris Ryskind Original Story,Screenwriter
Walter Scott Set Decoration/Design
Fred Sersen Special Effects
Leon Shamroy Cinematographer
J. Watson Webb Editor
Kurt Weill Songwriter
Lyle Wheeler Art Director

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