Beginning in the past, Two Girls and a Sailor opens up on Jimmy Durante who of course, is an entertainer. He has a cute little scene with a couple of little girls and then he does his musical number before the picture cuts to the present and those little girls are fully grown. The Deyo Sisters are entertainers who have a dream to open up a canteen to entertain the troops and after a party at their place with a bunch of soldiers, one a sailer to whom both are attracted, that dream starts to become a reality. Laughs, life and love are explored as the sisters try to navigate everything that comes their way with Jean being the dreamer and Patsy the one a little more in touch with reality. Soon it all comes down to Johnny as played by Van Johnson and who it is he is going to end up with, a tough decision if ever there were one. Thankfully, that decision is made for him.
With a lot of musical numbers packed into two hours of film, it never feels as if it is too much as they are all quite good. This is yet another wartime musical that is filled with just as much romance and drama as there are songs and director Richard Thorpe does a great job at keeping that balance. With June Allyson starring as Patsy, Gloria DeHaven as Jean and the aforementioned Van Johnson, the cast is already a great one and yet they still manage to add in Durante, Harry James and cameos from Xavier Cugat, Gracie Allen, Lena Horne, Helen Forrest and a quick moment from Ava Gardner. While most of the film centers around the first three, there is a subplot involving Durante who goes from headliner to nobody as he is found living in the previously thought abandoned warehouse that the sisters take over. When discovered, he seems like he might be a little mad but soon is on his feet again thanks to Patsy and Jean though there is an air of tragedy about him. While it is all resolved in the final act, during a song of all things, it gave the film an undercurrent that was far more serious in tone than the rest of it. As for Durante, the man is at the top of his game and highly entertaining, a performer that one grows to love more and more as the years pass by.
As for the leads, Van Johnson is his usual boy-next-door self, playing the somewhat innocent rube that made him so popular during the wartime years and it is a role where he would shine more than any others. DeHaven is easy on the eyes and is given the role as the fun sister compared to Allyson’s more frugal sibling and yet the two of them have a great time onscreen and one can easily see them being sisters in real life if that were not the case. The two also have a number of songs to their credit throughout the film and make for a good pairing on the stage. A bit of a love triangle would form, at least for a hot minute as each sister would fall for Sailor Johnson but in the end, things would work out for the best with Allyson finally getting something she wanted where it seemed like she never did.
There is a bit of flag-waving throughout which is perfectly fine as it makes a person feel good about themselves and their country to see it whether an American or not. There is nothing wrong with feeling patriotic and makes movies such as this rate a bit higher due to the joy they inspire within a person. Two Girls and a Sailor is an easy picture to watch, a film that will put a smile on the face and it is an easy picture one could watch again and again quite easily.
4 out of 5