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Two musical stars team with a sister act to help their old Army commander save his failing country inn.
On Christmas Eve, 1944, somewhere in war-torn Europe, soldiers of the U.S. Army's 151st Division enjoy a show put on by song-and-dance men Capt. Bob Wallace and Pvt. Phil Davis, in honor of their beloved departing general, Tom Waverly. When the camp suddenly is bombed, Phil saves Bob's life by pulling him out of the path of a collapsing brick wall. Later, Bob visits the injured Phil in the infirmary and declares that he "owes" Phil. Phil immediately pulls out a song he has written and suggests that Bob, a well-known soloist, repay him by performing it with him. Bob agrees, and the two become a popular duo following the war. One December night, in Florida, where they are performing their revue, Playing Around , Phil tries to fix bachelor Bob up with a chorus girl, but Bob angrily resists. The carefree Phil complains that because Bob has no love life, he spends all of his time working, and consequently, makes Phil work too hard as well. After Bob admits that he wants to find a "good" woman, the two head for a nightclub, where Betty and Judy Haynes, the sisters of a former Army buddy, are performing. Bob is instantly taken with Betty, while Phil is attracted to Judy. When Betty admits to Bob that the letter from their brother inviting them to their show was actually written by Judy, Bob laughingly accuses Judy of "having an angle." Betty, the older and more serious sister, takes umbrage at Bob's comment, and she and Bob quietly argue. Judy and Phil, however, hit it off and are delighted by Bob and Betty's apparent pairing. Just then, Novello, the club's owner, informs Judy that the sheriff is in his office, waiting to arrest her and Betty for non-payment of a $200 fee their landlord is demanding. After Judy, who along with Betty has an upcoming holiday job in Vermont, confesses to Phil that they are broke, Phil gives them the train tickets he and Bob were to use that night. While Novello stalls the sheriff, Betty and Judy sneak out of the club and flee in a cab. To assure the women reach the station, Phil and Bob go on stage in their place, sporting fans and garters and mouthing the words to a recording of one of the sisters' numbers. Afterward, Bob and Phil dash to catch the New York-bound train, and Bob is annoyed when Phil claims to have lost their drawing room tickets. Bob eventually deduces what happened to the tickets, but before he can confront the sisters, they burst into the club car to thank him for his generosity. Thus cornered, Bob says nothing about the tickets, and before long, Phil and Judy convince Bob to spend a few days in "snowy" Vermont. When they arrive there, however, they are shocked to find green grass and warm temperatures. At Columbia Inn, where they are to perform, Betty and Judy learn that because of the unseasonable weather, the inn has few guests and cannot afford their services. Just as Betty, Judy, Bob and Phil are about to leave, Gen. Waverly walks in with his granddaughter Susan. The general reveals that, after retiring from the Army, he sank all of his savings into the now failing inn. The general insists on honoring the sisters' contract, and that night, while the girls are singing, Bob and Phil concoct a plan to save the inn. Bob arranges for the entire cast and crew of Playing Around to come up from New York, explaining to the general that the inn is the perfect place to fine-tune the show before its Broadway opening. Later, after Phil and Judy connive to get Bob and Betty alone together, Betty admits to Bob she misjudged him and praises his selflessness. Although rehearsals at the inn go well, the general is crushed when he receives a letter from an Army friend, informing him that his request for reinstatement has been denied. Hoping to improve the general's spirits, Bob decides to go on the Ed Harrison television show and invite the veterans of the 151st Division to a Christmas Eve show at the inn. While he is talking on the phone with Ed, Emma Allen, the inn's nosy housekeeper, eavesdrops, but only hears Ed trying to convince Bob to exploit the event for publicity. Emma then tells Betty what she heard, and Betty, believing that Bob intends to take advantage of the general's plight, grows suddenly cold toward him. Judy concludes that Betty is having second thoughts about Bob because she is worried about abandoning her little sister, and convinces the marriage-shy Phil to become engaged to her until Bob and Betty are safely reunited. At a cast party, Judy and Phil announce their engagement, and are confused when Betty continues to snub Bob. Later that night, Judy assures Betty that the break-up of their act was inevitable, and the next day, Betty leaves for a solo job in New York and writes Judy a goodbye letter. After reading the letter, Judy and Phil confess to Bob about their phony engagement, and Bob, upset, decides to drop by Betty's club before his appearance on the Ed Harrison show. Despite his kind words, Betty treats Bob hostily. Bob then makes his live televised plea, and while Phil, Emma, Judy and Susan go to great lengths to prevent the general from watching the show, Betty tunes in and realizes her mistake. On Christmas Eve, hundreds of veterans and their families swarm to the inn to surprise the general, and Betty returns in time to appear in the revue. The general is deeply moved by the presence of so many of his men, and Betty is relieved to be reunited with Bob. Then, as snow begins to fall, Betty and Bob, and Phil and Judy kiss, happy in the knowledge that they will soon be married.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||New York opening: 14 Oct 1954; Los Angeles opening: 27 Oct 1954|
|Release Date:||1954||Production Date:||
AFI Library; EB*
|Color/B&W:||Color (Technicolor)||Distributions Co:||Paramount Pictures Corp.|
|Sound:||Mono (Western Electric Recording)||Production Co:||Paramount Pictures Corp.|
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User Ratings & Review
It's a family tradition! I watched it my parents when I was a child. Pasted it on to my kids. Every year, the day after Thanksgiving we have to watch...
so the plot is kinda thin........great songs, dance numbers, scenery, etc. as the 1st movie, in" Vistavision", the color is great too. last...
A Guilty Pleasure
Laguna Hiker 2012-12-19
Sure, it's as corny as any film made in the fifties. The plot is so thin it should have "No Skating" signs. But who cares? It's...