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Wake Me When It’s Over

Wake Me When It’s Over (1960) starring Dick Shawn, Ernie Kovacs, Jack Warden, Margo Moore, directed by Mervyn LeRoy

Synopsis of Wake Me When It’s Over

 Wake Me When It’s Over – World War II vet Gus Brubaker, redrafted through a clerical error, arrives on a dead-end Japanese island and decides to liven things up by building a hotel and using the island girls as the staff. Until his court-martial …

Review of Wake Me When It’s Over

Wake Me When It's Over (1960) starring Dick Shawn, Ernie Kovacs, Jack Warden, Margo Moore, directed by Mervyn LeRoyWake Me When It’s Over is an attempt at a military farce.  The basic plot has World War II vet Gus Brubaker re-drafted by mistake and sent to a tiny Japenese island.  Where it’s very boring. So he begins building a hotel, using the left-over and unused military items. Ripped parachutes become drapes, etc.

It actually gives the bored G.I.s something to do, and raises their morale. It also raises the morale of the island natives, when they’re hired to staff the hotel. Eventually, someone gets upset, notifies the brass, and they court-martial Gus.  For “stealing” from the Army, although he technically hasn’t.  He’s simply used the left-over materials.

So, what’s the verdict? As a comedy, it falls flat. Dick Shawn can be very funny.  Ernie Kovacs can be downright hilarious.  Neither of them are in this film.  Jack Warden, as the military doctor who represents Gus in the court martial, does a good acting job.  But he’s not funny here, either.  The actual court-martial is quite serious, and seems out of place.  Margo Moore appears as the straight-laced, beautiful female officer, the target of Ernie Kovacs affection.  She’s eye candy, but little more in this film.

I rate Wake Me When It’s Over only 2 stars out of 5.

Cast of characters in Wake Me When It’s Over

  • Gus Brubaker (Dick ShawnThe ProducersWay … Way Out).  The protagonist, whom the Japanese staff becomes very attached to – Papa-san.
  • Capt. Charlie Stark (Ernie KovacsNorth to AlaskaOur Man in Havana).  Gus’ friend, frustrated pilot. Who once mistakenly buzzed the Supreme Court in his airplane.  Whoops. Now has trouble being promoted, for some reason.
  • Lt. Nora McKay (Margo MooreThe George Raft Story).  Straight-laced military lady. Eye candy, and romantic interest for Eric Kovacs. That’s pretty much it.
  • Captain Dave ‘Doc’ Farrington (Jack Warden12 Angry MenHeaven Can Wait).  The doctor, who serves as Gus’ legal counsel in the court-martial. Jack Warden plays the role straight, and is enjoyable.
  • Ume Tanaka (Nobu McCarthyThe Karate Kid Part II).  Chief worker at the hotel, and almost-love interest for Gus. A very nice performance.
  • Sgt. Percy Warren (Don KnottsThe Andy Griffith ShowThe Incredible Mr. Limpet).  A minor role for a very funny man.  It’s a pity that he wasn’t given more to do.