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Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company 'B' (1941)

6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 87 users  
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Hot Breath Harry is a hot trumpeter at a jazz club. He finds himself drafted into the Army, where he's assigned to be the bugler of an African-American company. But everyone hates the ... See full summary »

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Title: Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company 'B' (1941)

Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company 'B' (1941) on IMDb 6.5/10

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Storyline

Hot Breath Harry is a hot trumpeter at a jazz club. He finds himself drafted into the Army, where he's assigned to be the bugler of an African-American company. But everyone hates the bugler, because he blows reveille at the ungodly hour of 5 AM sharp. Sure enough, on his first day, Harry gets pelted with everything imaginable. He lands against a wall, where his trumpet falls on him. He plays a swinging wakeup that segues into the title tune, and nobody minds waking up to this. Everyone swings through the whole day, even when three soldiers march into a lake and two soldiers, followed by a grinning alligator, march out. Written by Jon Reeves <jreeves@imdb.com>

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Release Date:

1 September 1941 (USA)  »

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Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)
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Soundtracks

Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company 'B'
Music by Hugh Prince
Lyrics by Don Raye
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User Reviews

At heart a fun musical cartoon but the racial caricatures make for uncomfortable viewing
19 February 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

A jazz musician gets drafted to the military and finds himself given the job of bugle boy – a very unpopular job who gets all manner of stuff chucked at him at 5am. Luckily for our main character he finds a trumpet rather than a basic bugle and he is able to call reveille with a swinging jazz number which makes all the difference.

I travel quite a bit so often find myself watching films etc on my tablet while on planes or waiting in airports. In doing this I am always conscious of those watching over my shoulder with no context, so I try to avoid very violent or sexual films as a courtesy to them and me. I mention this because I am incredibly glad that I did not watch this cartoon anywhere but my own home because it may have been hard to explain why I was watching something with such racial caricatures as in this 1941 cartoon. Sadly this is a reflection of the time and, as plankonrules points out, the reason that the cartoon only features black characters is that at the time in the US soldiers were segregated – so this cartoon was not about to show integration even in a fantasy setting!

Anyway, to deal with it first, the cartoon is really racist – massive lipped characters, "yes masta" style voice acting and very dark skin; one can excuse it as being of its time, but it is still offensive to watch and it feels uncomfortable to do so today. On the other side, to ignore this and watch it as a cartoon it does function well because the swinging soundtrack is very enjoyable and the comedy is nicely in support of this. The animation flows well too. It is a shame then that you will struggle to focus on all of the good aspects because there are so many negative ones and it is uncomfortable to watch because of them.


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