This film was first telecast in New York City Saturday 23 October 1948 on WPIX (Channel 11), as part of their newly acquired series of three dozen Hal Roach feature film productions, originally theatrically released between 1931 and 1943, and now being syndicated for television broadcast by Regal Television Pictures. See more »
A major disappointment considering how wonderful the first Sgt. Doubleday film was
TANKS A MILLION was the first of a series of comedy features from Hal Roach Studios. I had very low expectations of TANKS due to the generally poor quality of many of the contemporary Roach products. This is because I had already seen, among other films, TURNABOUT, NAZTY NUISANCE and MISS POLLY (all from Roach) and all were, at best, mediocre films due to very broad comedy and slap-dash characters. Amazingly enough, TANKS was a wonderful comedy with great characters, so I looked forward to seeing ABOUT FACE. Unfortunately, in many ways, ABOUT FACE really has more in common with these other films than TANKS A MILLION.
Although William Tracy and Joe Sawyer once again reprise their roles as sergeants, so much of the original film is missing. James Gleason, a great supporting character in the first two Sgt. Doubleday films, is absent and so is Doubleday's sweetheart. Plus, the balance of the original film is gone. TANKS had a large ensemble cast but in ABOUT FACE, the movie rested squarely on the shoulders of just the two sergeants. And while Doubleday was okay, Sgt. Ames (Sawyer) was so obnoxious, he was no longer funny. And because Ames was such an awful character, you felt irritated at Doubleday's lack of backbone and it made no sense why a basically nice guy like Doubleday would have anything to do with Ames. Any sane person would have ditched Ames a long time before the film ended and the trouble Ames created for Doubleday just became tiresome.
In addition to Ames, there was one smaller character in the film that truly was annoying, and that was the very young lady who kept chasing Doubleday (I think this was Jean Porter). She appeared to only be about 14 years-old (she was actually 17), lisped repeatedly (I think this was supposed to be funny) and her voice was much more annoying and cloying than Olive Oyl's!! She just grated on me and I wanted her to just shut up!
The bottom line is that this film lacked charm and lasting appeal--mostly due to lousy writing and unappealing characters. Considering how good the source material was, this is a major disappointment and is, at best, a time-passer.
PS--Does anyone know WHY Doubleday has dropped rank since the first movie? He's missing one of his stripes (taking him from Sgt. 1st Class to Staff Sgt.).
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