"There's a thread of a story running through the picture which doesn't interfere to any extent with the songs by MacRae and Miss Day."
For "Starlift," exhibitors had better start worrying, not if they have a big enough name for the marquee, but rather if the marquee is big enough to list the names of Doris Day, Gordon MacRae, Virginia Mayo, Gene Nelson, Ruth Roman, James Cagney, Gary Cooper, Phil Harris, Frank Lovejoy, Randolph Scott, Jane Wyman and Patrice Wymore.
This picture is a natural for those theater operators who feel the presence of big stars a necessity to make a film a box-office success. True, some of the players make only token appearances, but no matter, since the customer is sure to be attracted by the name on the billing. Thus, producer Robert Arthur and Roy Del Ruth have somehow woven everybody-including Louella Parsons-into the script. The film affords an opportunity for exploiting the company's star roster, and emphasizes the need for troop entertainment and what the Hollywood community is doing about it.
There's a thread of a story running through the picture which doesn't interfere to any extent with the songs by MacRae and Miss Day and Miss Wymore, dancing by Nelson, horseplay by Harris, and presentation of the humorous sketches by Lovejoy, Cooper, Miss Mayo and the others. The entertainment and humor - although sometimes labored - no doubt will get satisfactory reaction from audiences. Attractive Janice Rule plays the starlet who falls in love with a young air force corporal, Ron Hagerthy. There are the usual misunderstandings of young lovers as the boy accuses the girl of using him for publicity purposes. Hagerty's buddy, Dick Wesson, provides the humor in trying to patch things up. During all this, air force officers are around to explain to the stars the mechanics of an air force base, how injured troops coming back are looked after, the departure of men for the front, and so forth.
The entire picture uses as a background a California base,
and there are many interesting sequences on the activities and mechanics
of the base's operations. The principals in the story are Miss Day, Miss
Roman, Miss Rule, Wesson and Hagerthy, with Howard St. John and Hayden
Rorke in support. The others serve mainly as window dressing.
Charles J. Lazarus. Reviewed at Warner Bros Screening Room in New York.
Reviewer's Rating: GOOD.
Release date: December 1, 1951. Running Time: 103 minutes.
Motion Picture Herald