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When Willie Comes Marching Home/Up the River (1950)

Dan Dailey , Spencer Tracy , John Ford  |  NR |  DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Dan Dailey, Spencer Tracy, Claire Luce, Warren Hymer, Humphrey Bogart
  • Directors: John Ford
  • Writers: William Collier Sr., John Ford, Mary Loos, Maurine Dallas Watkins, Richard Sale
  • Producers: Fred Kohlmar
  • Format: Color, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: December 4, 2007
  • Run Time: 167 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000WMA6H8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #141,602 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "When Willie Comes Marching Home/Up the River" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Disc 1 Side A: WHEN WILLIE COMES MARCHING HOME Disc 1 Side B: UP THE RIVER

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Is that drip still here?" December 12, 2007
Here we go with two of John Ford's oldies but goodies. First, WHEN WILLIE COMES MARCHING HOME:

The great John Ford, in his time, managed to direct a passel of very good war pictures (They Were Expendable, The Wings of Eagles, The Lost Patrol - Authentic Region 1 DVD from Warner Brothers starring Victor McLaglen, Boris Karloff, Wallace Ford, Reginald Denny & Directed by JOHN FORD, etc.), not to mention several acclaimed WW2 documentaries. But, here and there, he's also helmed one or two wartime comedies. While 1950's WHEN WILLIE COMES MARCHING HOME isn't his best comedy about WW2 (that title falls to Mister Roberts), it's still a hilarious film. Apparently, for whatever it's worth, this was one of Lucille Ball's favorite movies.

Most people have never heard of this film. I recently stumbled across it, while flippin' channels. It was on cable television's TCM network and, for the next 82 minutes, I just sat there and laughed myself silly. WHEN WILLIE COMES MARCHING HOME is somewhat reminiscent of Preston Sturges' HAIL THE CONQUERING HERO, same tone, same sensibilities. Dan Dailey, who plays the lead role, also provides voice-over narration.

Plot SPOILERS now.

During World War 2, Willie Kluggs (Dailey) becomes the first native of Punxatawney, West Virginia to enlist in the U.S. Army, and, as such, he gets a big send-off from his tiny town. But, after boot camp, Willie is surprisingly posted at the new air base in his hometown.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rare and Worthwhile December 18, 2007
I first saw "Up the River" at a tiny repertory cinema in San Francisco in the late 1970s. Since then, it's been largely unavailable, so it's good to see it back in circulation. TCM aired the film for the first time on December 10, 2007, less than a week after Twentieth Century-Fox released it as part of its "Ford at Fox" mega DVD set (as well as on a single disc with "When Willie Comes Marching Home").

As others have noted, the main reason to watch this movie is that it marks the feature film debuts of Spencer Tracy and Humphrey Bogart, the only time these two Hollywood icons made a film together. ("Bogey: The Films of Humphrey Bogart" by Clifford McCarty lists "Up the River" as Bogart's second opus, following "A Devil With Women." But according to Internet Movie Database and TCM's movie database, "Up the River" was released six days before the other film.) The second reason to watch this is that John Ford directed it.

The plot is pretty flimsy - a big shot gangster (Spencer Tracy) and his sidekick (Warren Hymer) in a midwestern prison play cupid to two fellow inmates (Humphrey Bogart and Claire Luce). Originally conceived as a drama, "Up the River" was transformed into a comedy so as not to be compared unfavorably with "The Big House," a hit film released while the former was in production.

Most sources give a running time of 92 minutes, but the TCM version and the DVD release are only 84 minutes. It's likely that the missing 8 minutes are at the end, since a couple of plot elements are left unresolved - namely, the conclusion of the prison baseball game and the reunion of Bogart and Luce. And the "The End" title card looks too modern for 1930. There are also quite a few flaws in the film, with words of dialogue dropping out and lines on the screen. But considering its age and rarity, these are minor complaints. This movie is highly watchable and well worthwhile.
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5.0 out of 5 stars John Ford, Bogey and Spencer Tracey Double Bill February 18, 2014
Verified Purchase
I bought this for the 1930 Humphrey Bogart/Spencer Tracey flick Up The River. And while the print is choppy, the film is a delight.
Seeing Bogey at such a young age is something else; the interplay with Spencer Tracey is also unforgettable. And it's all directed by
the great master, John Ford. The other film, the raucous war comedy When Willie Comes Marching Home, is a real pleasure, with
a wonderful contrasts between the farcical domestic front against a mile-a-minute war adventure. Watching John Ford channel
Preston Sturges is indeed an unexpected pleasure. For Ford fans, this double bill is well worth it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Dan Dailey September 21, 2013
By Vickey
Verified Purchase
I love old movies & Dan Dailey is in many of them. Musicals are my favorite. Dan Dailey is a great actor.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Home All the Time August 19, 2009
By James
"When Willing Comes Marching Home" is the first of three films by Director John Ford that takes a nostalgic look back at our recent involvement in the world wars. The horrors that were WWI and WWII have past, but it was very real history to millions of Americans. These movies take a reflective and somewhat more humorous look at a time of great sacrifice. The films are "When Willie Comes Marching Home", "What Price Glory", and "Wings of Eagles".

Director John Ford served in WWII as did many Hollywood stars but he had a particular fondness for the military and greatly respected the men who wore the uniform. Ford served in the Navy and actually saw combat at the Battle of Midway, not from a safety of a distant ship, but actually on Midway Island as it was under attack by the Japanese. In fact he filmed a documentary of the actual attack for which we received an Oscar.

In "When Willie Comes Marching Home" we have William Kluggs (Dan Dailey), local boy from Pauxatawney, Wva. (which is actually in Pennsylvania by the way) being the first man to enlist from his hometown and is treated like a hero for doing so. Trouble is, that he winds up being stationed at near by Loring Field and never gets to go anywhere causing the townfolks to view him somewhat differently. Try as he might Bill Kluggs simply can't into the fight until a happy accident occurs permitting him to go overseas where he will meet a very beautiful French Resistence leader, Yvonne (Corinne Calvet)

Without giving away the fun of the movie, from this point on Bill's life is a wild adventure but it lands him right back again in Pauxatawney, Wva. where his family and friends now think he's gone AWOL. Follow the adventures of Bill Kluggs as he tries to serve his country during WWII.
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