Patty and the Duke
Up until now my favourite movie about women in the army has been "Private Benjamin" but I may have a new but old favourite as I got to watch "A Time to Triumph". Now "A Time to Triumph" is one of those made for TV movies which is based on a true story but it is certainly an entertaining movie as it manages to mix some typical army training humour with the drama of the true story. And that story, well that sees a role reversal as a wife joins the army when her husband suffers a career ending heart attack and he finds himself becoming a house husband.
With their third child having just been christened life is good for Chuck (Joseph Bologna) and Concetta Hassan (Patty Duke), that is until Chuck has a serious heart attack which prevents him from returning to work on the construction site. With no job they are forced to sell up and move but things don't improve so Concetta decides she should enlist in the army as that way they will be better off. Not overly impressed Chuck eventually agrees and settles down to being a house husband whilst Concetta despite being older than everyone else pushes herself through army training and on to pilot training.
I'll tell you why "A Time to Triumph" is likely to become my favourite women in the army movie as it manages to deliver plenty of expected humour but it then develops that humour into part of the drama. But before we get to that we get the build up which does a nice enough job of delivering plenty of drama from Chuck struggling to deal with feeling useless to Concetta having to deal with him feeling useless and permanently aggravated. There is plenty more drama as well in this build up and you almost wonder whether it is going to get to the point where Concetta enlists.
It does get there and unsurprisingly you could say it becomes a bit cliche as we get military training humour as Concetta struggles with basic training and being shouted at. But whilst there is plenty of humour going on with Patty Duke doing a fabulous job of delivering some marvellous facial expressions it doesn't over play it, preferring to deliver some wicked lines about the 23 year old Drill Sergeant thinking she is John Wayne. And the best bit, it then incorporates this humour into the drama which in turn evolves as Concetta's ambition to become a pilot becomes an issue for Chuck who yearns for his old life. What that means is that you get the best of both worlds, you get entertained by some humour but you also get the emotion and drama of the true story.
Now the success of "A Time to Triumph" comes from the story but it is also the perfect casting of Patty Duke and Joseph Bologna. Duke as Concetta is likeable from start to finish be it as the loving wife or the amusingly ambitious pilot; she not only sells the humour but also sells the emotional dram perfectly. But Bologna gets his fair share to and he does the same, he sells the humour of him being a house husband but also the emotion of feeling second class as Concetta goes after her pilot's licence.
What this all boils down to is that "A Time to Triumph" is not the best movie you will ever watch but when it comes to made for TV movies based on a true story it does a great job of entertaining whilst also delivering the emotion and drama of the true story.