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The West Point Story Reviews

Down-on-his-luck Broadway director Elwin Bixby (James Cagney) reluctantly accepts an assignment from producer Harry Eberhardt (Roland Winters) to stage a show at West Point. The show's writer is Tom Fletcher (Gordon MacRae), Eberhardt's nephew, and Eberhardt thinks he can make it into a hit, so he instructs Elwin to persuade Tom to leave the Academy and star in a Broadway version instead. Once Elwin and his girl friend, Eve (Virginia Mayo), begin work on the show, he not only fails to get Tom to quit West Point but also must deal with Academy rules that wreak havoc on his rehearsals. Frustrated, Elwin finally explodes and strikes a cadet. He is consequently instructed that to continue work on the show, he must become a cadet himself and be subject to Academy discipline, an arrangement he submits to after Eve threatens to leave him. The cadets promptly haze Elwin like the greenest plebe, but he takes all they can dish out. Meanwhile, movie star Jan Wilson (Doris Day), who is set to appear in the show, succeeds where the director fails: when she goes back to Hollywood, lovesick Tom goes AWOL to follow her. Elwin, however, manages to salvage Tom's military career and the show. A dull and overlong film, THE WEST POINT STORY does have an energetic performance by Cagney, who always put everything he had into his song-and-dance parts. Still, it's the weakest of Cagney's musicals and a generally leaden outing. Music director Ray Heindorf received an Academy Award nomination for his scoring.