Thursday, March 12, 2009

Guerillas In Pink Lace (1964)

1964 - Guerillas In Pink Lace (company unknown)

Director George Montgomery Writers/Producers Ferde Grofé Jr, George Montgomery

Cast George Montgomery, Joan Shawlee, Valerie Varda, Robin Grace, Jane Earl, Ruth Earl, Diki Lerner, J. Seison

Van Roberts’ review at the Internet Movie Database:

Rugged western leading man George Montgomery stars in this lightweight, juvenile, World War II adventure-comedy about an American gambler, Brass Murphy (Montgomery), and a bevy of American showgirls that catch a ride on a U.S. military transport plane leaving Manila in the Philippines.

The action takes place less than a month after the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Brass loses everything gambling and gets into a fight. He is rewarded with a black eye and is nursing it in a hotel lobby when a considerate Catholic priest, Father Osgood, befriends him. Osgood observes that everybody is in a frenzy to leave Manila while he is quite content to stick around and help his fellow men. He tells Murphy that he wants to see that his military pass will go to someone deserving.

He sends Murphy to his room to fetch it, but Murphy finds it, decks himself out like a priest and heads to the airport. The transport crashes and Murphy winds up in a raft with the gals. They paddle to the nearest island only to discover that the Japanese hold it—that is, two Japanese soldiers with a radio unit hold it. Nevertheless, Murphy advises his five showgirls that they should stay out of sight of the enemy. If they overpowered the two Japanese soldiers, the rest of the Imperial Army might swarm the island in an effort to find two missing soldiers.

Meanwhile, neither man nor woman lives by bread alone. Murphy conducts a night-time raid on the Japanese for food. The superior Japanese officer is bathing and his radio man is dressed up like a Geisha girl to entertain him. No, it doesn't get any more provocative than the humor implied by one guy cross-dressing as a woman. While the Japanese are splashing around and entertaining each other, Murphy tries to raise the Allies on the Japanese radio. Murphy's biggest threat as he tries to contact the Allies is a rooster.

Later, a numerically overwhelming force of Japanese soldiers infests the island. Montgomery steals a Japanese uniform and is able to approach and clobber them and then lug their unconscious bodies to the girls who strip the uniform off and climb into them. During the evening, Murphy sabotages a roast pig and triggers mass hysteria among the Japanese troops. Not surprisingly, native Phillipine scenarist Ferde Grofé Jr. makes the Japanese appear like simple-minded numb skulls. They never really pose a threat to our hero and heroine. Of course, the showgirls truly do believe that Murphy is a man of the cloth and they are upset in the end when they learn the truth about him. This disposable World War II movie really never lives up to its title. The showgirls don't commit any genuine acts of sabotage. Mongtomery doesn't take himself seriously and gives rather funny performance as a man stranded among a group of showgirls with no opportunity to take advantage of them because they are convinced that he is a man of God.

The VCI DVD for "Guerrillas in Pink Lace" is a full frame version and the film was lensed in a widescreen format so the pictorials are clipped. Completist World War II buffs will be disappointed. Time wise, "Guerrillas in Pink Lace" clocks in at 96 minutes. Incidentally, the film boasts some level of authenticity because the Japanese speak in their native tongue and the action was filmed on location in the Phillippines.

Hal Erickson's review for the All Movie Guide:

Hollywood movie star (and future ace cabinet maker) George Montgomery spent much of the early 1960s trying to establish himself as a producer/director. Like most of his directorial efforts, Guerillas in Pink Lace was lensed in the Philippines and suffers from cheesy production values, but all in all has of few isolated moments of genuine merit. The titular guerillas are not cross-dressers but women, a group of showgirls stranded in Manila at the time of the 1941 Japanese invasion. Barely escaping with their lives, the girls take to the hills, where they matriculate into A-number-one freedom fighters. Outside of Montgomery, who also stars, the biggest "name" connected with Guerillas in Pink Lace is Joan Shawlee, a brassy-blonde actress best known for her comedy work with Abbott and Costello and Billy Wilder.

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