A note from Lindsey: I happened to schedule a few Fred MacMurray films in a row, so this week TMP brings to you an impromptu series of posts, THREE DAYS OF FRED! Today we’ll be looking at the time-hopping comedy Where Do We Go From Here? Yesterday’s review: The Shaggy Dog; Tomorrow: Never a Dull Moment
All that Bill Morgan (Fred MacMurray) wants to do is join the war effort… but sadly, he’s 4-F, physically unfit to enlist. He’s been rejected by every branch of the military, so when he heads to the USO canteen, Lucilla Powell (June Haver) gives him the not-too-fun task of washing dishes. Bill’s pal Sally (Joan Leslie), a woman less glamorous than (but much nicer than) Lucilla, helps him complete the task.
Bill must be wearing blinders, because he’s 100% unaware of the fact that sweet Sally is head over heels for him. He, like every man in town, has an eye for Lucilla.
After getting the dishes done, Bill heads back to his scrap yard, where a woman brings in a load of antiques. In the heap is a lamp… which is home to a genie named Ali. Ali offers Bill a series of wishes, and when Bill wishes to join the Army, he finds himself just there… but in 1776, not the 1940s!
Where Do We Go From Here? was directed by Gregory Ratoff.
This is a film that starts out with a simple little love triangle, the threads of which continue throughout the story, though it morphs into more of a fantasy tale after Bill finds the magic genie’s lamp. Bill is given the chance to time-hop, and the love triangle ensues in various historical time periods. His goal is just to fight in the Army… or Navy… or Marines, but the film focuses on romance for the most part rather than battle segments.
Bill’s interactions with historical figures like George Washington throughout these time travel segments also add some amusement, as do the film’s wacky moments, like one (set in the 15th century) in which there are traffic signals to control deer traffic. Yes, deer traffic.
There are some nice (and humorous) songs incorporated into all of the time-travelin’ fun. One particularly long song is a melodic argument, in Christopher Columbus’ fleet, over whether the Earth is round or flat. And Bill tells the sailors that they must keep sailing if they want an extra day off for Columbus Day in the future!
Where Do We Go From Here? is ten kinds of ridiculous and a little bit problematic (see: Lucilla dressed up as a very stereotypical Native American woman), but overall is quite a fun watch. I would recommended it for fans of MacMurray. The score: 2.5/5