Kilroy Was Here (1947) Poster

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5/10
Mediocre Film About A Memorable Meme
Theo Robertson2 April 2017
With a title of KILROY WAS HERE you're instantly struck by the name of the movie. We've all heard it along with the instantly recognisable drawing of a bald man peeking over a wall. Apparently this meme took off during the Second World War but searching on Wikipedia it seems to have its origins before the war. That said according to wiki it did come in to popular during the war

The premise of this movie is that it features a character called John J Kilroy who after leaving the army tries to get a college education and uses somewhat underhand means in order to get this education via his legendary name. It's actually a good premise and contains a couple of subplots that should make it an even better film. One is a potential romance with a female student called Connie has her own agenda for wanting to know Kilroy. The second aspect is that the posh educated middle class students who were exempt from the draft look down upon Kilroy due to a combination of social class and jealousy that they never fought in the war

Do you agree this sounds like a very good idea for a movie, especially one that was made just after the war ? I think so too. Sadly however the production team seem to miss all the potential they had at their disposal and the film just seems to drift about like a rudderless boat. Jackie Cooper puts in a likable performance and it's not difficult to pick a side. The opposition - privileged students - aren't very well drawn however and make little impact due to both the casting and writing and you're left feeling KILROY WAS HERE should be miles better than it actually is
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3/10
Pointless college comedy that misuses the ironic name.
mark.waltz24 December 2018
Warning: Spoilers
While this film probably was written with good intentions, what comes out of it is a waste of just over an hour of precious movie watching time. The story focuses on the popular wartime name Kilroy, on American slang nickname for the typical G.I., popularized by a drawing of a comic strip character who looked much like Ziggy of the future. In this film Jackie Cooper is the unfortunate G.I. about to get out of the army who has the last name and becomes a celebrity of sorts when he registers for college under the G.I. bill. He finds out that his name makes him sort of a joke, and the lack of privacy becomes very intrusive, especially when a casket with the Kilroy drawing on it is utilized as kindling for a college bonfire. Especially tough is his crush on pretty collegiate Wanda McKay and the ridiculous romantic ordeals he faces because of it.

While restored prints of this film look pretty good for a Monogram movie, the premise is extremely dated today. Casting to is somewhat Suspect with this having former Child Star Jackie Cooper paired with silent child movie star Jackie Coogan, aka Uncle Fester. Sid Melton, who recurred on "The Golden Girls" as Sal Petrillo, is also featured and it is impossible not to recognize that voice and personality. This would be perfectly acceptable as a typical post-war comedy dealing with the G.I. bill, the arrival of older college intermingling with young adults just out of high school, but the only reason why the Kilroy reference seems to be there is to have something topical to deal with which makes this seem rather pointless. it is one of those rare classic films that is definitely a subject of its time and only if someone is aware of the connection of the meaning of the nickname "Kilroy" would they really get it. Other than that, it is actually a pretty boring film.
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