I Was a Male War Bride (1949)

Based on a true story, you say? Well I can buy that, real life can be stranger than fiction sometimes and absurdity of bureaucracy is familiar to us all. I frankly didn’t remember the first half of the movie to be this dull. The fiery hate/love chemistry between Grant and Sheridan works entirely suitably and there is plenty of good banter between the two, so it’s not troublesome to make through the first hour, but I do have to question the decision to spend so much time to just get Grant and Sheridan together, when you could have just had them already be dating from the start and focus more on their struggle to get married and get Grant to America.

I don’t particularly mind the very classic (or cliched, depending on your fancy) romance trope of two people not getting along at all until they suddenly find themselves to be madly in love. It’s not a big deal, it just felt a bit hamfisted because we spent so much time establishing how they dislike each other only it to really take one motorbike accident to get them suddenly rush to get married. It’s a bit too goofy and unrealistic. But who knows, maybe the script was just being true to the source material.

Fortunately in the second half the movie does get itself together and becomes a barrel of laughs when we finally get around satirizing the red tape of the Army, which in itself is a bottomless well for comedy. They also manage to effectively pull your emotional string, as you start to feel bad for the couple when the army ruins their wedding night by sudden orders for Sheridan report to another city on the double, or when Grant spends an entire night not finding a place to sleep due to his male war bride status. Not to forget of course the final masquerade ordeal they have to go through by having Grant dress up as a woman to smuggle himself on the boat taking them to America after the Navy does not take too kindly to talk about Grant being a war bride and drive him off. Who ever said love was easy?

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