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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Verna: USO Girl (1978)

Set in 1944 during WWII, a young girl (Sissy Spacek) has dreams of being a singing and dancing Star and believes she is special. What she doesn't seem to comprehend however, is that she has no talent whatsoever. But when a second rate performing troupe can't get anyone else in time for their European USO tour of military zones, they reluctantly let her join the show. Based on Paul Gallico's short story, this is a simple but affecting story enhanced by Spacek's guileless performance. Spacek is, of course, a much better singer (remember COAL MINER'S DAUGHTER?) than she plays here but one can see why the G.I.s would be utterly charmed by her despite her character's flat singing voice and clunky dancing. Filmed on location at U.S. military bases in Germany and (one assumes) the participation of hundreds of actual G.I.s is combined with the film's drab color palette to give the film a stripped down naturalistic look. Directed by Ronald F. Maxwell (LITTLE DARLINGS). With William Hurt as the soldier who falls in love with Spacek, Sally Kellerman as a jaded singer and Howard Da Silva (in an Emmy winning performance) as the troupe's kind hearted leader.

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