Bud and Lou enlist in the army in order to escape being hauled off to jail, and soon find themselves in basic training. To their dismay, the company's drill instructor is none other than ...
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Jonesy and Lou are in Algeria looking for a wrestler they are promoting. Sergeant Axmann tricks them into joining the Foreign Legion, after which they discover Axmann's collaboration with ... See full summary »
Bud and Lou enlist in the army in order to escape being hauled off to jail, and soon find themselves in basic training. 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
While this was the Abbott & Costello's second feature, and only Abbott's second film (Costello had appeared in several films as a stuntman and background extra in the late '20s), you sure couldn't tell, as the pair handled themselves like veterans. They are so assured and confident here that they appear to be making up their routines as they go along, although in reality they had polished them to near perfection during their years in vaudeville, burlesque and on the Broadway stage. This film is a terrific example of the flawless timing that not only convulsed their audiences but astounded other comedians (Steve Allen said that he had never seen anyone who could match them). Some criticism has been directed at the duo for the insertion of superfluous and usually second-rate musical numbers in most of their films--a decision made by Universal Pictures which the team had no control over--and while that may be true for several of their subsequent efforts, it isn't here. The numbers are well staged and the songs, especially "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," are infectious. The "plot" about a spoiled rich boy and his servant who enlist in the army is lame, but it doesn't really matter. This is a showcase for Bud and Lou's talents, and they don't disappoint. Director Arthur Lubin said that he pioneered the use of two cameras to cover scenes mainly because Costello was so off-the-wall and bounced all over the place so much that one camera simply couldn't contain him, so he ordered up another camera and had it trained exclusively on Costello. The boys do their best routines here--The Crap Game, The Ten/Forty routine, the Drill routine--and they are a joy to watch. Anyone who thinks that Bud Abbott wasn't the best straight man in the business should watch the Drill routine and check out how he consistently and skillfully reins in Costello whenever Lou's manic energy takes him too far outside the skit while still allowing him the freedom to employ the ad-libs and improvisations he was famous for. Abbott never really got as much credit as he deserved, and this scene alone shows why he deserved it.
Abbott & Costello did make some films that were beneath their talents, and some that were just plain unfunny, but this is definitely not one of them. This is a tremendously enjoyable film. Highly recommended.
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