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Buck Privates
     

Buck Privates

Director: Arthur Lubin, Lee Bowman, Alan Curtis, Bud Abbott

Cast: Arthur Lubin, Lee Bowman, Alan Curtis, Bud Abbott

 

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Filmed on a B-picture budget, Buck Privates was Universal's biggest box-office hit of 1941, firmly securing the movie popularity of the studio's hot new team of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello. The story is fairly evenly divided between the antics of Bud and Lou-here cast as sidewalk salesmen Slicker Smith and Herbie Brown-and the romantic triangle involving

Overview

Filmed on a B-picture budget, Buck Privates was Universal's biggest box-office hit of 1941, firmly securing the movie popularity of the studio's hot new team of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello. The story is fairly evenly divided between the antics of Bud and Lou-here cast as sidewalk salesmen Slicker Smith and Herbie Brown-and the romantic triangle involving Randolph Parker III (Lee Bowman), Judy Gray (Jane Frazee) and Bob Martin (Alan Curtis). Escaping the wrath of policeman Mike Collins (Nat Pendleton), Slicker and Herbie duck into a nearby movie theater, which unbeknownst to them has been converted into a US Army recruiting center. As the boys are reluctantly inducted into the Service, wealthy draftee Parker hopes to pull a few strings to avoid putting on a uniform, while Parker's former chauffeur Martin willingly answers his call to the Colors. Once ensconced in boot camp, Slicker and Herbie continually run afoul of their sergeant, who is none other than their old nemesis Mike the cop. Meanwhile, Parker and Martin vie for the attentions of USO hostess Judy, who'll have nothing to do with Parker until he proves his worth as a soldier. Poor Slicker and Herbie are shunted into the background as the romantic subplot is resolved, but at least our heroes get to steal the film's closing scene. It's hard to believe that anyone cared about the Parker-Martin-Judy triangle with Abbott & Costello on hand to perform their classic "dice game," "awkward squad," "turn on the radio" and "boxing ring" routines-not to mention their timeless verbal exchanges, the best of which finds Bud convincing Lou that if he marries an underage girl, she'll eventually be older than he (it plays better than it reads!) As a bonus, the film spotlights the Andrews Sisters, performing such top-ten tunes as "Apple Blossom Time" and "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy." Even from the vantage point of six decades, with the WWII draft but a dim memory, it is easy to see why Buck Privates was such a huge success.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Dan Friedman
One of the best Bud Abbott and Lou Costello films, Buck Privates not only marks the film that put them on the map of stardom but also contains, as do many of their films, some of their classic vaudeville material. While these routines are hilariously funny, they work better mostly because of the situations the boys find themselves in. Bud and Lou enlist in the army to avoid being sent to jail and soon are in boot camp under the command of the police officer who was set to arrest them. While the rigors of military discipline naturally provide all sorts of opportunities for hijinks and pratfalls, the film holds up because it doesn't overdo them and actually has an interesting secondary plot involving a well-heeled dandy trying to use his family's influence to get out of service and his former valet, now also vying for the attention of the same woman. This may seem to be a diversion but it allows for a breather between the madcap routines that take over the film and provide the belly laughs. Veteran comic actor Nat Pendleton gives Abbott and Costello a run for their money as their drill sergeant, and the Andrews Sisters have a prominent role as themselves, appearing in many of the musical numbers that crop up throughout. Although the combination of all of these bits has a cumulative effect to make the film feel a little over-stuffed, by limiting the appearances of Bud and Lou on-screen it makes their performances that much more effective and avoids the fate some of their later films suffer in which they wear out the welcome of their good-natured characters. Stooge Shemp Howard has a small role as a cook.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/17/2012
UPC:
0025192128172
Original Release:
1941
Rating:
NR
Source:
Universal Studios
Presentation:
[Full Frame]
Sound:
[DTS 5.1-Channel Surround Sound]
Time:
1:25:00
Sales rank:
45,666

Special Features

Abbott and Costello Meet Jerry Seinfeld; 100 Years of Universal: Restoring the Classics; 100 Years of Universal: The Carl Laemmle Era; 100 Years Of Universal: Unforgettable Characters; Theatrical Trailer

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Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Lee Bowman Randolph Parker III
Alan Curtis Bob Martin
Bud Abbott Slicker Smith
Lou Costello Herbie Brown
Andrews Sisters Themselves
Jane Frazee Judy Gray
Nat Pendleton Sgt. Michael Collins
Samuel S. Hinds Maj. Gen. Emerson
Harry Strang Sgt. Callahan
Nella Walker Mrs. Parker II
Leonard Elliott Henry
Shemp Howard Chef
Mike J. Frankovich Announcer
Dora Clement Miss Durling
Kay Leslie Camp Hostess
Nina Orla Camp Hostess
Dorothy Darrell Camp Hostess
Jean Brooks Actor
Charles Coleman Edmunds
James Flavin Actor
Harold Goodwin Sergeant
Bud Harris Porter
Charles Anthony Hughes Capt. Williams
Selmar Jackson Captain
Lee Norman Actor
Hughie Prince Henry Sloan
Don Raye Dick Burnette
Tom Tyler Instructor
Janet Warren Actor
Patty Andrews Herself
Douglas Wood Mr. Parker
LaVerne Andrews Herself
Maxene Andrews Herself

Technical Credits
Arthur Lubin Director
Phil Cahn Editor
Nick Castle Choreography
Alex Gottlieb Producer
John Grant Screenwriter
Arthur Horman Screenwriter
Milton Krasner Cinematographer
Charles Previn Score Composer
Hughie Prince Score Composer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Buck Privates
1. Main Titles [1:56]
2. New Recruits [4:57]
3. You're In The Army Now [5:34]
4. Your'e A Lucky Fellow, Mr. Smith [5:18]
5. The Clubhouse [3:47]
6. No Place Like Camp [4:53]
7. I Wish You Were Here [2:43]
8. Nice Move, Soldier [7:13]
9. I'll Be With You When It's Apple Blossom Time [4:42]
10. Drill Team [4:04]
11. Numbers Game [2:23]
12. Rifle Match [4:05]
13. On/Off [2:25]
14. When Private Brown Becomes A Captain [5:49]
15. Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy Of Company B [2:28]
16. The Champ [4:30]
17. Military Maneuvers [6:29]
18. A Soldier At Last [3:40]
19. Bounce Me Brother With A Solid Four [4:50]
20. You're A Lucky Fellow, Mr. Smith (Reprise) [2:12]

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