Time: 102 mins.
Rating: Not Rated
Academy Award nominations for Best Score and Screenplay.
What this film lacks in depth of plot it more than makes up for with fun, stylish and exuberant musical numbers. This is the third film Kelly and Donen made together and they clearly knew how to turn their prodigious talents into a highly enjoyable cinema experience. The story centers around three army buddies just returned from the front who believe their friendship will last now that they're back on American soil. Tim, the bartender at their new hangout vehemently disagrees. He has years of experience behind his claims. To prove him wrong, they make a pact to meet there in 10 years to show Tim how nothing has changed between them. Of course, if they were still friends, we wouldn't have a movie.
Time and life turns them into men more or less discontented with what they've become. Ted (Kelly) is a low-rent boxing manager lacking in love and high morals; Doug (Dailey) is a successful businessman whose marriage is slowly unraveling; and Angie (Kidd) is happily married but his greasy diner isn't exactly the restaurant of his dreams. Their initial enthusiasm at reconnecting with the past is quickly tarnished by the truth of what they've become complete and utter strangers. They go out to lunch and try to capture the joy of each other's company, but the meal is painfully awkward as they watch their youthful dreams finally turn to dust. They each internally resolve to never see each other again, but fate (i.e. the plot) has other plans.
The story of their reunion reaches the ears of a local television show whose popularity centers around a weekly segment that showcases a real life, feel good story. The lovely, yet iron-fisted host Madelaine (Gray) wants to share the fellows touching tale of friendship with the nation and entrusts Jackie (Charisse) with the task of getting them to the studio. Convincing Doug and Angie to attend is no problem, but Ted is a different matter. Though Jackie has no qualms about using her feminine wiles against him, he turns out to be quite an expert in the game of love. In the hours before show time, Doug and Ted are forced to make decisions about what they really want out of life and their choices cause a bit of havoc in their current social circles. Their new outlooks don't change the fact that they're no longer friends, but it doesn't stop them from banding together and taking down Ted's enemies in one finale, fist-flying hurrah.