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Aug 18, 2018

Episode 5A: Sergeant Murphy (1938)


Bryan Foy's B-movie unit at Warner Brothers churned out some of the best bottom-of-the-bill features of the late 1930s, but B. Reeves Eason's "Horseratio Alger" tale Sergeant Murphy is kind of a nag. Nevertheless, this seldom seen army/racing/equine buddy film is a crucial item in the Gipper's filmography, as it demonstrates the studio's continuing commitment to the coltish actor as a leading player (it's his second starring vehicle, following closely on the hooves of Love is on the Air).  

The film may not be any great shakes as a piece of entertainment, but it made a fine conversation piece for your hosts, who zero in on Reagan's unexpected espousal of post-structuralist/critical race theory in a key scene, marvel at the U.S. military's laughingstock/rump status in those pre-World War II/World Police days, and consider the evolution of Dutch's persona more broadly (this was his first chance to play a non-announcer/reporter character). 

The supporting cast is mostly composed of nonentities, with the significant exceptions of Donald Crisp (a crucial Warner player of the era) and love interest (?) Mary Maguire (whose life took a bizarre turn the following year when she married British Union of Fascists scumball Lord Robert Gordon-Canning).

Also! This episode was recorded in June 2018, not long after the dismal Conservative Party triumph in this year's Ontario Election, eliciting about 25 minutes' worth of spleen venting at the top of the show and prompting Dave to call for the unilateral abolition of suburbia. 

Now is a time for choosing. Choose RED TIME FOR BONZO!

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