Greg, an arrogant entertainer, gets drafted into the army and runs up against tough drill sergeant Sgt. Diggs. Not wanting to stay in the army, Greg sets out to annoy and aggravate Sgt. ... See full summary »



(titles) (as Joe Farnham), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »


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Cast overview:
Sgt. Diggs
Greg Lee
Betty Wayne
Zella Fay
The Judge
Tom O'Brien ...
Sgt. O'Brien
Charles Sullivan ...
Cpl. Sullivan
Lincoln Stedman ...
Gene Stone ...


Greg, an arrogant entertainer, gets drafted into the army and runs up against tough drill sergeant Sgt. Diggs. Not wanting to stay in the army, Greg sets out to annoy and aggravate Sgt. Diggs so much that Diggs will have him thrown out. To make matters more complicated, they both have their sights set on pretty Betty Wayne. Complications ensue. Written by

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Plot Keywords:

army | hot air balloon | See All (2) »


The Greatest Comedy Team ever Known in the Biggest Comedy of Our Times!







Release Date:

30 April 1927 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Pequena Parada  »

Company Credits

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Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Barmy in the army
19 January 2003 | by (Minffordd, North Wales) – See all my reviews

Dane and Arthur were not one of the all-time great comedy teams, but there was one unusual aspect of their teamwork. In most comedy teams, the comedians play allies ... but Dane and Arthur sometimes played adversaries at cross purposes, with Karl Dane as the authority figure and George K. Arthur as the anti-authority figure. For example, in "Brotherly Love" (a comedy set largely in prison), Dane plays the dim-witted warder whilst Arthur plays the clever convict who keeps foxing him. A similar structure prevails in "Rookies", which is probably the funniest Dane and Arthur film... and that's not saying much.

Greg Lee (Arthur) is a conceited cabaret dancer who gets conscripted into the army. Dane plays Sergeant Diggs, the gruff drill instructor. Dane's role is a cliché, and he plays it that way. Both men are attracted to the same girl, blandly played by Marceline Day. So far this movie seems to be a bad parody of "Tell It to the Marines", which features a character named Sergeant JIGGS (the Marine mascot). "Tell It to the Marines" was a box-office smash at the time that "Rookies" went into production. Hmmm...

Privately, Private Lee doesn't enjoy army life, so he does everything possible to get digs at Diggs by annoying the sergeant and undermining his authority. In the real world (or in a plausible movie), this would get Lee sent to the stockade.

OBVIOUS SPOILER NOW. Eventually, Lee buckles down and becomes a dedicated soldier ... at first he does this to please Betty (Marceline) but eventually the esprit de corps gets to him and he genuinely wants to be a good soldier. The airborne climax of the film is genuinely exciting, when Private Lee jumps out of an aeroplane in midair to rescue the passengers of a runaway balloon. Much of this sequence is very obviously faked, but it's well-paced and exciting anyway.

The title cards in this film are full of slangy wisecracks, and the sets (in the army camp) are unconvincing: I shan't make any jokes about esprit decor. The funniest scene is a drill routine, which may have inspired similar scenes in "Buck Privates" and many another army comedy. While drilling a row of squaddies, Sergeant Diggs takes one man's rifle and demonstrates a (very impressive) manual of arms ... then he hurls it back at the recruit while barking "Now do what I just did!" Of course, all the squaddies hurl their rifles at the sergeant! I saw this gag coming from a mile away, but it's still funny.

I'll rate "Rookies" 6 out of 10. The individual story incidents aren't much like the ones in "Tell It to the Marines", but the basic premise and the characters' arcs are much too similar. Stand easy, lads.

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