Where Do We Go From Here?

Released in May 1945 by 20th Century Fox. Music by Kurt Weill. Lyrics by Ira Gershwin. Screenplay by Morrie Ryskind, adapted from a story by Ryskind and Sig Herzig. Directed by Gregory Ratoff. Produced by William Perlberg. Cast included Fred MacMurray, Joan Leslie, June Haver, Gene Sheldon, and Anthony Quinn.

The success of LADY IN THE DARK had Ira Gershwin and Kurt Weill looking for another project that might equal that show’s unique qualities. They saw an opportunity with this Second World War film about a patriot named Bill, rejected by the army as 4-F, who wants to do his part for the war effort. Stumbling upon a genie in a magical lamp, he asks to go to war, but never specifies where or when.  Instead of sending him to Western Europe to fight the Nazis, the genie transports him to 1492 and Columbus’ arrival in America and has him join George Washington during the Revolutionary War. Ira and Weill were intrigued by the screenplay, which provided them with the chance to create a 12-minute all-music and lyrics sequence, which was the longest of its kind on film to date. The success of WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? was hampered by the declaration of the allied victory in Europe, which dampened enthusiasm for films with a war plot. None of the film’s songs became hits, though an amusing demo recording of Ira and Weill performing a selection of them has been available for a number of years.