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June’s character: Jody Revere

In their final on-screen performance together at MGM, June Allyson and Van Johnson keep us on the edge of our seats in this musical mystery. Van plays the manager of a New York City apartment building, while secretly longing to be a famous drummer. When one of the tenants is murdered, the mystery begins to unfold. Entering the picture is the deceased man's estranged niece, a nightclub singer played by June. As primary heir to her uncle's estate, June soon finds herself entangled in a web of suspense, "Oh knives and dead bodies yet," as well as a romance with Van. Also starring Louis Calhern, Angela Lansbury, John Beal, Dorothy Dandridge, Barry Kelley and Sammy White. Directed by Don Weis, produced by Arthur Hornblow, Jr.

NOTE: If you ever get the chance to see this film, listen for Van's slip of the tongue when he calls June "Junie" instead of her character's name "Jody."

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June’s character: Lt. Ruth McCara

Long before "M*A*S*H," there was Battle Circus. Made while the Korean War was still ongoing, this tribute to the indomitable human spirit takes an authentic, almost documentary-like look at the nurses and doctors who operated on the battlefront Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals.  Humphrey Bogart is convincing as a brilliant, hard-bitten Army surgeon with a weakness for women and strong liquor. ("Three wars in one lifetime," he says during a lull in the action, "maybe whiskey's as much a part of our life as war.") Fresh from the states arrives June Allyson, a naive young nurse ready to save the world. The story of their love and heroism, told against the grimly realistic background of pounding artillery and deadly ambushes, forms the core of the film. The title Battle Circus comes from the way the mobile field units can strike their tents, move to a new battle area, then set them up again like circus roustabouts in nothing flat. And like circus daredevils, they risked life and death on a daily basis. Directed by Richard Brooks and produced by Pandro S. Berman.


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