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Source: Joan Collins Archives

Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

Unlike Seven Thieves which I blogged about a couple weeks ago Joan Collins and Paul Newman, really are the only two reasons to watch Rally Round The Flag Boys. Joanne Woodward is pretty cute and funny in it, Jack Carson is great as the stumbling awkward U.S. Army Captain who tries to come off as a lot tougher than he actually is. Jack Carson is simply one of the top comedic actors of his generation.

But the first hour of this movie is pretty funny with Joan playing this beautiful (if not gorgeous) rich housewife in this small town about an hour outside of New York City who really only has one problem. Her wealthy business executive husband never sees her. The man is either working all the time at the office, out-of-town on business (or with his mistresses’s) or going out with his mistresses. I added the mistress part myself to make it sound funny, but the point being the man is never around and never seen with his beautiful adorable wife Angela Hoffa (played by Joan Collins) in the entire movie. And Joan can get kinda prickly about little things like never seeing her husband. Even if he gives her an allowance that makes her a millionaire.

But Angela comes across Harry Bannerman (played by Paul Newman) early in the movie when he gets to the train station in their small town coming back from work and his wife is too busy to pick him up. Angela just happens to be there perhaps thinking this might be the night where she actually gets to spend some time with her husband, but of course he’s still not there and still at work. And offers to drive Harry home. And that is where Angela and Harry who are neighbors get to know each other a little bit and find out that they have something in common. Which is they don’t get to see their spouses very often.

Harry’s wife Grace Bannerman (played by Joanne Woodward) is the busiest housewife in Putnam’s Landing if not America as a whole. Except she’s not very busy at home (if you get my drift) but instead is more like a First Lady and is involved in every civil activity known to man. At least in Putnam’s Landing and isn’t around much for her husband Harry, but he works a lot as well and doesn’t see his wife a lot either. They have a townhall meeting in Putnam’s and the Mayor there announces that the U.S. Army wants to open a base there, but won’t tell them why they need the base there. And his wife is appointed to run a new committee to deal with the new Army base coming to town. And appoints her husband to be the liaison between the town and U.S. Army about the base coming to town. Harry just happens to work in public relations and is in the U.S. Naval Reserve so is very qualified for this job.

To get back to Joan Collins which is really the only reason why I’m writing about this. There are two very hysterical scenes in this movie where Joan is her usually adorably funny self. Perhaps three with her picking up Paul Newman early in the movie and driving him home. But the first one being where Paul drives Joan home from the meeting because his wife stays late at the meeting and Joan invites him in to her home. And they have a hilarious but innocent party where they get drunk and do a lot of dancing and fall back down the stairs together after trying to go upstairs.

The other scene being where Joan follows Paul to his hotel in Washington where he’s there to talk to the Pentagon about his new role in Putnam’s and gets to his hotel room and Joan is there waiting for him. Harry makes it real clear that he’s happily married and doesn’t want to get involved, but Angela doesn’t take no at least not very easily and makes a big play for him. And Harry’s wife arrives there and sees them together. After that the movies gets really silly and looks more like musical comedy than anything else.

I saw this movie a few months ago and have it on DVD and tweeted that and shared that on Google+ as well that the only reason I saw this movie was to see the adorably funny Joan Collins in it. Joan actually saw that and liked it. Saw this movie over the weekend to refresh my memory about it and to prepare for this piece. Take Joan Collins out of this movie and replace her with a much more ordinary woman who doesn’t have Joan’s comedic ability and talent like a Deborah Kerr or someone like that (no offense to Deborah Kerr) and I don’t have much incentive to watch this movie, at least not a 2nd time. This movie is an example where a great actress and actor can pull the movie together by themselves. Especially if that actress is as beautiful, adorable, sexy, and funny as a Joan Collins.

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Source: James Neff- Paul Newman & Joanne Woodward 

James Neff: Rally Round The Flag Boys 1958

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