Up in Arms

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Original title Up in arms
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1944
length 105 minutes
Director Elliott Nugent
script Don Hartman
Allen Boretz
Robert Pirosh
production Samuel Goldwyn
music Louis Forbes
camera Ray Rennahan
cut Daniel Mandell
James E. Newcom

Up in Arms is an American military and musical comedy film directed by Elliott Nugent from 1944 and starring Danny Kaye . It was his first full-length feature film. Production was taken over by Samuel Goldwyn , who was to be of eminent importance for Kaye's career start as a comedian and who regularly engaged Kaye for his productions until 1952.


Danny Weems, a downright hypochondriac , makes a living as an elevator operator in the Medical Building in Manhattan . He regularly consults the doctors in the building with his imaginary illnesses and gradually drives them crazy with his imaginary ailments. Danny does not even spare fellow patients and infects them with his lay diagnoses. The long-term guest in the waiting room has been attracting the attention of nurse Virginia Merrill for some time, who soon takes a liking to the cranky, weird owl. But he only has eyes for another nurse named Mary Morgan, who only likes him platonically. The three of them go out one evening, with Danny's roommate Joe Nelson as the second male companion. Virginia tries again to land with Danny on this double date. But he has to realize that his crush Mary and buddy Joe are in love with each other.

Soon after, Danny and Joe are drafted into the US Army. Now Danny panics because army life means constant danger to life, limb and above all health in his eyes. So Danny asks Joe to go to the drafting authority instead of him, but the latter was drafted himself, so that, according to the film title, it will soon be up to both of them to take up arms. Months later, the two men meet the nurses Virginia and Mary again, who also do their learned job, now in military uniform, and who ended up as lieutenants in Danny's and Joe's battalion. Because of their different ranks and a ban on fraternization between the sexes, the two men have little opportunity to converse with the two young women. Blackie and Butterball, two other soldiers, begin teasing him with it after learning of Danny's hypochondria. Joe steps in and takes on the two buddies. There was a solid brawl, which was only ended by the request that all soldiers of the unit had to be ready in 30 minutes, as the battalion was being transferred to a US base in the South Pacific.

Danny walks through the military base to quickly say goodbye to Mary, who, unlike Virginia, is not supposed to travel. Due to unforeseen circumstances, however, she has to hide in a supply truck, which is also hoisted onto the ship that is about to leave. On the high seas, Mary then disguises herself as a male officer in order not to be discovered and to get in trouble. Danny and Joe plan to smuggle her into the other nurses' quarters. To distract the soldiers, Danny gives a vocal part, but Mary only manages half the way to the women's quarters and has to hide. The following night, Danny tries to guide them the rest of the way, but they get lost and promptly end up in the cabin of Chief Officer Colonel Ashley. Ashley sees the two intruders, but before he can say anything else, Mary and Danny have slipped away and made their way back to Danny's comrades' crew quarters. Here Mary is hiding under Danny's bed. Danny uses a trick to convince his comrades to leave the bunks and accommodations, so that only he, Mary and Joe remain. Danny has to watch as Mary flees into the arms of her lover Joe. Now all illusions he had ever had about himself and Mary are gone in an instant.

On the following day, Danny and his alleged quibble with an unknown woman on board is the gossip of the day among the soldiers. Danny, devastated by his lost love, goes to his supervisor Colonel Ashley and confesses the truth to him. He sees no other way out than to bring Danny to court-martial , who refuses to say who the unidentified woman was , and locks him up on the ship for the time being. Now the moment has come when Virginia can show Danny how much she loves him. She faces the supervisor and claims that she was the woman. Her justification for what happened seems credible, and so Colonel Ashley releases both young people from custody. Danny, who is now gradually realizing what he has in Virginia, borrows Blackie's turntable without asking Blackie and plays a record that he had recorded on land at the fair with his friends. Blackie catches him doing it and knocks down Danny, who, still half delirious when he dreams of Virginia, confesses to Ashley that he smuggled Mary onto the ship. Arriving at the military base, Danny is arrested and imprisoned on land.

Soon, however, there was fighting with Japanese soldiers who promptly kidnapped Danny and presented these "spoils of war" to their general. Danny overpowers the commander, steals his uniform and orders a number of particularly dumb Japanese to follow him. You end up in a pit where the war opponents are imprisoned by Danny's American soldiers comrades. Suddenly everyone is celebrating Danny as a great hero, and he can finally hug the right woman, his Virginia.

Production notes, premiere

With Flying Colors was the working title of Up in Arms . The shooting dragged on from the end of June to the end of September 1943. World premiere was on February 17, 1944 at New York's Radio City Music Hall . There was no German performance.

Don Hartman took over the production management. Perry Ferguson designed the film set, Howard Bristol was the set designer, Miles White designed the costumes. Ray Heindorf arranged the music composed by Louis Forbes .

Forbes' and Heindorf's composition received an Oscar nomination in 1945, as did the song Now I Know , written by Harold Arlen (music) and Ted Koehler (libretto) . The Goldwyn Girls are dancing.


In the New York Times edition of March 3, 1944, Bosley Crowther praised Dinah Shore's achievements ("Miss Shore's connection with the picture is incidentally at best") and reminded everyone that all of Kaye's perfection can be seen from the stage but also some of its shortcomings would be repeated in this first movie. His conclusion: “Mr. Kaye fights his way through this story with a maximum of vitality: He makes noises, stares, perspires, grimaces and has tantrums. "

In the New York Daily Mirror one could read almost at the same time: "Nothing since Greta Garbo bowed was anything as fantastic as the inimitable Danny, one of the most exhilarating and spontaneous personalities in film history."

The Movie & Video Guide stated: "Danny's first full-length film ... doesn't work that well, the main asset is the lively Dinah Shore."

Halliwell's Film Guide found, "Loose, generally pleasant introductory vehicle for Danny Kaye".

Kay Wenigers The film's large personal dictionary recalled in the biography of the main actor: "With this film, the lively comedian Danny Kaye was made big."

Individual evidence

  1. cf. The film's great personal lexicon, Volume 4, p. 328
  2. Bosley Crowther : Full Review In: The New York Times , March 3, 1944. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  3. ^ Leonard Maltin : Movie & Video Guide, 1996 edition, p. 1399
  4. ^ Leslie Halliwell : Halliwell's Film Guide, Seventh Edition, New York 1989, p. 1071
  5. ^ The large personal dictionary of films, Volume 4, p. 328

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