As a Classic Hollywood junkie I am always on a certain internet movie database site searching the film credentials of my favorite hollywood stars. Ronald Reagan in particular is always one I keep an eye on, and often find that many of his films are just not available on any viewable format. So when annstj said she had gotten her hands on WB’s new archive collection copy of Juke Girl, I about fell over. Not only becase I love Ronald Reagan and all that magnetic farmboy personality, but also because this was the film that made Ann Sheridan the Oomph Girl. And while “Oomph girl” is not a repectable name for any respectable actress, but it was definitely better than Lana Turner’s label of “sweater girl”. Because who wants to be known for wearing sweaters….seriously?
Juke Girl, made in 1942, is a film milking the hurt of the depression and letting it leak into the bitterness of the war era. Ronald and friend, Richard Whorf, are set to make it big in a new town, only to find that town is a farming town, complete with domineering opressive overlord and poor peasent farmers, oh and a juke box! Richard wants to make it big and cash in, while Ronnie is more concerned with the poor peasent farmer who can’t get enough money for his tomotoes. Enter Juke Girl Ann. Now the tag line for this film was “a good girl- to let alone.” And really I have to say it was all to sell tickets, because while Ann is a little bit reluctant to get into a relationship with Ronnie, who really couldn’t be less persistent, she only has eyes for him.
Ann plays the accomplice in a scheme to take down Hollywood Regular Gene Lockhart, and restore hope and justice to the people. She’s not “bad” and you wouldn’t need to ” let her alone” especially as she seems to have an affinity for running away before anyone has a chance to get attached.
Ronnie, on the other hand, throws himself into every fight protecting the farmers, comes up against Gene Lockhart numerous times, and loses a friend in the process. While no James Dean, Ronnie is just the sort of loyal guy any girl would want in her corner. And eventually, Ann learns this too.