This film was first telecast in New York City Saturday 16 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 »
The entire cast is wearing their helmets backwards. See more »
A big step backwards for the Sergeant Doubleday films
This B-movie was one of a long series of war comedies starring William Tracy as the bright and lovable Sergeant Doubleday. While I loved the very first film, TANKS A MILLION, the series was pretty uneven--with some being very good and a few (like this one) being pretty poor excuses for movies. My score of three might be as low as it is because I knew that these Hal Roach produced films COULD be enjoyable and original--this one was not. In fact, in some ways it was like a dull film with bits of 3 Stooges thrown in for good measure.
In this film, Doubleday and his annoying friend Ames were shipping out overseas to action. As usual, Ames is Doubleday's foil and I think this is a major weakness of these films. After a couple films, Ames becomes very tiresome and his character just grates on you. He's ALWAYS selfish, stupid and trying to hurt his friend Doubleday--and after a while you start to think "what's funny about that?". In TANKS A MILLION, it worked well--here it's just bad. Plus again and again, second-rate gags are used that just don't provide laughs. Unfortunately, the film also does not end well--the Japanese sub segment is just lame.
Oh, and while I am ranting about Ames, I thought I'd throw in a few words about continuity. From film to film, continuity is a major problem. Ames is a master sergeant in his first film, but stripes keep disappearing in subsequent films--even though time and again his superior officers praise him and he is rewarded for brains and courage. Also, the sweet Ames goes from girl to girl in the films--making him seem pretty fickle since he is engaged to a couple of them! Unfortunately, the only real constant in the films is Ames. Why, oh why Ames?! If you are a fan of the series and MUST see them all, then by all means watch this one. If not, then see TANKS A MILLION and leave it at that. The film is one of the best war comedies of the 40s--perhaps THE best and a lot funnier and timeless than the very popular BUCK PRIVATES.
Oh, and the other reviewer is right--the helmets were worn backwards throughout the film!
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