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Buck Privates (1941)

7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 2,844 users  
Reviews: 42 user | 17 critic

Bud and Lou enlist in the army in order to escape being hauled off to jail, and soon find themselves in boot camp. To their dismay, the company's drill instructor is none other than the cop... See full summary »

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(original screenplay), (special material for Abbott and Costello)
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Title: Buck Privates (1941)

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Lee Bowman ...
Randolph Parker III
Jane Frazee ...
Judy Gray
Alan Curtis ...
Bob Martin
...
...
The Andrews Sisters
Laverne Andrews ...
Maxene Andrews ...
Patty Andrews ...
Samuel S. Hinds ...
Maj. Gen. Emerson
Harry Strang ...
Sgt. Callahan
...
Mrs. Parker II
Leonard Elliott ...
Henry
...
Chef
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Storyline

Bud and Lou enlist in the army in order to escape being hauled off to jail, and soon find themselves in boot camp. To their dismay, the company's drill instructor is none other than the cop who was all set to run them off to the hoosegow in the first place! The boys end up having a whale of a time getting under the skin of their humourless nemesis. Written by Alfred Jingle

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Musical

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

31 January 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ordinário, Marche!  »

Box Office

Budget:

$180,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$4,000,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Outside the movie theatre which serves as a recruiting station in the first sequence, posters for Hired Wife (1940) and I'm Nobody's Sweetheart Now (1940) (also directed by Arthur Lubin) can clearly be seen. See more »

Goofs

Accustomed to performing for live audiences, Abbott & Costello "never did anything the same way twice," as editor Philip Cahn complained. "No two takes were exactly the same," said director Arthur Lubin. Continuity errors were almost inevitable. See more »

Quotes

Herbie Brown: What time is it?
Slicker Smith: None of your business!
[completely ad-libbed during the drill routine. Abbott didn't know it was coming but delivered his response flawlessly]
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Universal Story (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

You're In The Army Now
(uncredited)
Music by Isham Jones
Lyrics by Tell Taylor and Ole Olsen
Played by an army band for marching recruits
Hummed by Lou Costello
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Universal Soldiers
5 September 2008 | by (Derby, UK) – See all my reviews

This is one of my favourite outings from Bud & Lou, the start of their phenomenally successful career in the service comedies and one of a series of smile-jerkers from them and Universal. This was also the one that made it for them in the movies and turned them into America's no. 1 box office stars during the War.

They're a couple of street tie-selling con artists who unwittingly join the Army (along with playboy Lee Bowman) in trying to escape the clutches of the Law in the shape of cherubic Nat Pendleton. It's not so easy to escape ones duty however, and so follows a series of unconnected inconsequential adventures learning to be soldiers or lovers all with that special lighthearted wartime Universal treatment. A&C went through their routines with impeccable timing and a professionalism that belied all the slapstick. Favourite bits: playing unintelligible (to me) clubhouse dice; Abbott inoculated and Costello's reaction; the mathematics of borrowing USD 50; the historic performance of Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy by the Andrews Sisters and then the sudden end to the boogie-woogie boxing match; the unusual deadpan arrangement to Jane Frazee's I Wish You Were Here. The Voice Of Hellzapoppin returns! No kidding but what chance did the Japanese and Germans really have - sorry for identifying who the enemies were in these socially inclusive times, because they weren't in the film - to pit themselves against all this? The American War Machine was awakening, with the might of Hollywood behind it and A&C playing their part with their entertaining flagwavers the same as George Formby did on a smaller scale for the British War effort.

The box office success - and critical praise too - of this took Universal by surprise and they didn't make nearly as much money as they could have, a mistake they never made again with A&C. Recommended, an antidote to now and to me always a joy to behold and hear.


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