Francis

Overview

One wonders if Donald O'Connor would have consented to star in Francis if he knew that a series was to follow. Adapted by David Stern from his own novel, the film stars O'Connor as GI Peter Sterling, who appears to be bucking for a Section 8. Seems that Sterling keeps insisting that Francis, a cantankerous Army mule, has the power of speech. It turns out that Francis not only can talk, but is also a superb military strategist. With Francis' help, Sterling breaks up a Nazi spy ring and becomes a hero -- but this ...
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Overview

One wonders if Donald O'Connor would have consented to star in Francis if he knew that a series was to follow. Adapted by David Stern from his own novel, the film stars O'Connor as GI Peter Sterling, who appears to be bucking for a Section 8. Seems that Sterling keeps insisting that Francis, a cantankerous Army mule, has the power of speech. It turns out that Francis not only can talk, but is also a superb military strategist. With Francis' help, Sterling breaks up a Nazi spy ring and becomes a hero -- but this is only the beginning, as the future entries in Universal's "Francis" series would prove over and over. Providing able support to the hapless O'Connor are Patricia Medina, Ray Collins, and especially ZaSu Pitts as a bewildered Army nurse. The voice of Francis is provided by Chill Wills, who likewise showed up in most of the "Francis" sequels, and who, like O'Connor, bailed out before the final entry, Francis in a Haunted House 1956.
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Special Features

100 Years of Universal: The Carl Laemmle Era; ; 100 Years of Universal: The Lew Wasserman Era
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Francis is the very definition of a high-concept comedy. Too often, the creators of such works never really move much beyond the concept, resulting in a film that very quickly runs out of steam. Francis is certainly not a classic, but its creators did build sufficiently upon the premise to create an engagingly silly little flick. The writers haven't bothered with much in the way of explanation where Francis is concerned, especially when it comes to how the mule is capable of speech, and some of the jokes are very obvious; but on the whole, Francis is written with a bit more care than might be expected, and the writers seem to enjoy the story they're concocting. Arthur Lubin's pacing is a bit leisurely, and the film clearly was not a big budget effort, but it does boast the amiable presence of Donald O'Connor and the feisty, raspy vocal work of Chill Wills, as well as the daffy ZaSu Pitts. O'Connor is more likeable than any actor has a right to be, and his quirky way with a phrase or the manner in which he lifts an eyebrow go a surprisingly long way. His is an expert comic performance -- not acting for the ages, but a light, delightful little job that helps lift Francis slightly above the ordinary.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/6/2012
  • UPC: 025192118579
  • Original Release: 1949
  • Rating:

  • Source: Universal Studios
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: Pan & Scan
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:31:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 37,197

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Donald O'Connor Peter Stirling
Patricia Medina Maureen Gelder
ZaSu Pitts Valerie Humpert
Ray Collins Col. Hooker
John McIntire Gen. Stevens
Eduard Franz Col. Plepper
Howland Chamberlain Maj. Nadel
James Todd Col. Saunders
Robert Warwick Col. Carimichael
Frank Faylen Sgt. Chillingbacker
Mikel Conrad Maj. Garber
Loren Tindall Maj. Richards
Charles Meredith Banker Munroe
Robert Anderson Capt. Grant
Tony Curtis Capt. Jones
Al Ferguson Capt. Dean
Harold Fong Japanese Soldier
Tim Graham Lt. Bremm
Harry Harvey Correspondent
Jim Hayward Capt. Norman
Judd Holdren 1st Ambulance Man
Marvin Kaplan 1st M.C. Lieutenant
Joseph Kim Japanese Lieutenant
Mickey McCardle Capt. Addison
Howard Negley Correspondent
Peter Prouse Correspondent
Roger Moore M.C. Major
Jack Shutta Sgt. Miller
Chill Wills Voice Only
Duke York Sgt. Poor
Technical Credits
Arthur Lubin Director
Robert Arthur Producer
Leslie I. Carey Sound/Sound Designer
Miton Carruth Editor
Al Fields Set Decoration/Design
Roland A. Fields Set Decoration/Design
Russell A. Gausman Set Decoration/Design
Irving Glassberg Cinematographer
Bernard Herzbrun Art Director
David S. Horsley Special Effects
Corson Jowett Score Composer, Sound/Sound Designer
Rosemary Odell Costumes/Costume Designer
Richard H. Riedel Art Director
Frank Skinner Score Composer
Les Weldon Screenwriter
Les Weldon Screenwriter
Bud Westmore Makeup
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Francis the Talking Mule
1. In the Banking Business (Main Titles) [3:36]
2. Behind Enemy Lines [5:55]
3. Take It Easy [5:31]
4. Reporting for Duty [3:07]
5. A Beautiful Girl [4:34]
6. Never in Writing [4:27]
7. On a Mission [5:24]
8. Psychological Evaluation [4:10]
9. Lead Patrol [2:35]
10. Engaging the Enemy [3:41]
11. A Special Visitor [8:36]
12. Heaven Help You [4:52]
13. Performed a Great Service [4:19]
14. Obeying Orders [7:10]
15. Perfectly Normal [4:56]
16. Meet the Press [7:04]
17. Have I Got News for You [5:31]
18. Here We Go Again (End Titles) [5:16]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Francis the Talking Mule
   Play
   Scenes
   Bonus
      100 Years of Universal: The Carl Laemmle Era
      100 Years of Universal: The Lew Wasserman Era
   Setup
      Subtitles
         English SDH*
         Español
         Français
         Subtitles: Off
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