Call Out the Marines (1942)

Jimmy McGinnis (Victor McLaglen) and Harry Curtis (Edmund Lowe) are old Marine pals who haven’t seen each other in fifteen years. When they end up working at the same racetrack, they rekindle their friendship — and find themselves sparring for the affection of the same woman, Violet (Binnie Barnes), a performer at the Marine-friendly Shoreleave Café.

Little do they know, Violet isn’t just a café singer. She’s a spy! And things get complicated when the men are called back to active duty, still unaware of her secret gig.

(Image via All Movie)

(Image via All Movie)

Call Out the Marines was directed by William Hamilton and Frank Ryan, written by Frank Ryan.

This is kind of an odd little film. It makes use of a plot that would usually be reserved for a trio of two 20-something hunks and one emerging screen starlet, giving it instead to two middle-aged men and a singing spy.

This could have been a nice twist on the usual romantic triangle. Unfortunately, the behavior of these older and should-be wiser men is perhaps even more childish than is usually seen with younger casts. I found them obnoxious.

On the plus side, the film gets a whole lot more interesting when the spy plot is introduced. Violet is a cunning woman. I wish the whole film was about her spy capers!

Violet is a highlight of Call Out the Marines, and the scenes of light spy intrigue are the best parts of the film. Otherwise, there are a few (very few) amusing moments, but more that are supposed to be funny and just don’t work. The score: 1/5

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