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Where Do We Go From Here?

Where Do We Go From Here title card

Year - 1945
Studio - 20th Century Fox
Stars - Fred MacMurray, Joan Leslie, June Haver, Gene Sheldon
Director - Gregory Ratoff, George Seaton
Writing Credits - Morrie Ryskind, Sig Herzig
Music - David Raksin, David Buttolph


In this World War II era musical, Bill Morgan (Fred MacMurray) is frustrated because he wants to join the military, but has been classified 4-F. He's allowed in to the military canteen but Lucilla (June Haver) only dances with servicemen. Sally (Joan Leslie) puts him to work in the kitchen, washing dishes. Walking home later, he wanders into a scrap drive for the war effort, where an old woman is donating some antique lamps. Admiring one of them, he accidently drops it, and a genie (Gene Sheldon) emerges. Bill is offered seven wishes; his first wish is to be in the Army. Not having been specific about the wish, he is immediately sent to 1776 as a soldier in the Revolutionary army. He meets General George Washington, but wanders off and finds himself with a unit of Hessian soldiers. They accuse him of being a spy and send him to the firing squad. The genie arrives just in time and Bill requests, this time, to be in the Navy.

Where Do We Go From Here poster

Bill finds himself on one of Christopher Columbus's ships, where the sailors are about to mutiny, believing that Columbus is deluded because the earth is flat. Bill convinces them of the great future ahead for their coming discovery, but Columbus takes a left turn to the island of Cuba. Bill, himself, rows a small boat to America. There he meets Chief Badger (Anthony Quinn) who "cons" him into buying the Manhattan island for twenty four dollars. When Bill gloats to himself that he wishes he could see the faces of the Dutch there, he finds himself in New Amsterdam. There he sees Katrina, who looks exactly like Sally. She is about to be married, against her wishes, to a wealthy man who holds the mortgage on her father's property. Bill shows the residents his deed of ownership to Manhattan.

Bill offers to sell the island to the Dutch for one million gulden, to which they reluctantly agree. But after the bill of sale is signed, they present him with a statement of taxes due on the transaction, resulting in Bill owing them fifty gulden. He is thrown into debtor's prison but, again, his genie soon joins him. Bill's wish is to stop Katrina's marriage and have her return with them to the 20th century. Bill's final wish is to be accepted for service in the Marines. In the final patriotic scene, Bill Morgan marches in a New York City parade with his fellow servicemen, and with Katrina/Sally at his side.

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Where Do We Go From Here? was suggested for this site by Karine Philippot.