kitparkerfilms

“G.I. Jane,” “Grand Canyon,” and some Lippert filmflimflammery

Posted on: February 27, 2015

OK, finally got enough requests to convince VCI release these two on DVD!

untitled

During the 1940’s – early 1950s before television killed “B” movies, army comedies, musicals (MGM or Monogram…didn’t matter,) themes about Tinsel town, and of course westerns, were guaranteed hits in small town and rural America.

 

Producer/distributor/exhibitor, Robert L. Lippert, decided to combine the genres for sure-fire hits.  He did, and they were.

 

“G.I. JANE”, is a musical-comedy taking place at an army camp starring Jean Porter (sorry, not Demi Moore,) Tom Neal (Hollywood’s real-life bad-boy), Iris Adrian, Jimmie Dodd (“Jimmie” from the “Mickey Mouse Club,) and Jeanne Mahoney, with direction by B-movie stalwart Reginald LeBorg.

 

At a remote Army training camp in the desert, our boys in uniform want to do more than wave at the WAC’s, and a new recruit bets them $500 he can make this happen. A stern female lieutenant makes things tough but eventually it’s Mission Accomplished, the barracks filled with beauties and ballads.

 

“I Love Girls,” “Line-up and Sign-up in the Army Corps,” and “Nervous in the Service,” are a sampling of the musical numbers.

 

“GRAND CANYON,” a comedy with two songs (“Love Time in Grand Canyon” and “Serenade to a Mule”!) about Hollywood producers filming a western, staring Richard Arlen, Mary Beth Hughes, Reed Hadley, James Millican, Olin Howlin, Grady Sutton, and Joyce Compton, with Paul Landres in the director’s seat.

 

There’s grand fun, grand feudin’ and grand fightin’ in this spoof on low-budget Hollywood moviemaking. Assigned by Robert L. Lippert (who appears as himself in a pre-title sequence) to make a Western on indoor sets, Reed Hadley farcically tries and fails, and finally convinces the front office to allow him to shoot on “location.”  Rural audiences howled when an Arizona cowboy showed them Hollywood types a thing or two about acting, and ends up with the starring role!

 

Here’s where the filmflimflam comes in:

 

The advertising claims the movie was filmed at the Grand Canyon, and a prologue to the movie even thanks the Department of the Interior for its cooperation.   Sure, the exteriors are, but the scenes with actors, most of the movie, are filmed on sets, against process shots, or in a familiar location spot near L.A.…but who’d go see a movie called “Bronson Canyon?”   There are a couple of scenes with “actors” filmed on location, but are in reality stand-ins, shot in such a way that the audience couldn’t tell.

 

The fight scene featured in “Mike’s” dream was taken from “The Return of Wildfire,” another Arlen/Lippert film. Arlen’s opponent in the fight is Reed Hadley, his “director” in “Grand Canyon.”*

 

Viewed today, these movies are fun to watch, but remember they were made for the Princess Theatre in Meredosia, Illinois, not the Radio City Music Hall.

 

*Thank you Bob Dickson for this tidbit.

 

Contact:  kit@kitparker.com

 

 

 

2 Responses to "“G.I. Jane,” “Grand Canyon,” and some Lippert filmflimflammery"

I love your incredibly informative posts about these wonderful Lippert films.

I am curious about “Unknown World.” I see it italicized in your re-posted list of Lippert titles on this site indicating that it is owned by VCI. Apparently, this film has slipped into the public domain and atrocious copies of it are available. Does VCI hold anything of higher quality on this title and do they have any plans to release a version on DVD? . I know many fans of 50s science fiction who would pounce on this one, particularly with an audio commentary by Tom Weaver.

Lewis

Thanks for the good words…and for reading my blog. I’ve removed the “Unknown World from the list of titles distributed by VCI; it was included in error. It would be great to have VCI release it, especially with a commentary by Tom Weaver, but no good film source material has been found. Since you brought the filmography to my attention, I was able to correct some typos, and add quite a few titles which are now, or soon to be, distributed by VCI.

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