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We managed to win World War II in the European theater even with the
presence of Bud and Lou in the American Army. The boys who enlisted in
the army to get away from the cops in Buck Privates and found their
nemesis patrolman, Nat Pendleton, as their sergeant are now returning
veterans. Only Costello managed to smuggle in little Beverly Simmons, a
French war orphan, in his duffel bag. Imagine going across the Atlantic
without a change of clothes.
Beverly's the company mascot and she's adopted Costello so Bud and Lou are going to adopt her. Of course they run into all kinds of problems with the army, with the police and with immigration. Then again their situations make for the plot of Buck Privates Come Hone.
The original Buck Privates was as much musical as it was burlesque comedy. With the Andrews Sisters, Jane Frazee, there was not one dull moment in this film. For some reason the writers here did not include much of the classic comedy routines. There's only one here, the famous Left/Right routine with Costello getting all balled up with the word "right." No musical numbers except the men singing about how they're going home.
Lots of physical comedy though, depending as much on Nat Pendleton's reactions as well as Costello's knack for getting into situations that no one else could possibly. And we can't forget Donald MacBride who has the best slow burn in films save for Edgar Kennedy.
The climax is Costello's wild ride in a midget racing car which is well staged. Buck Privates Come Home isn't quite up to the standard they set in their wartime films, but it's still pretty funny and should appeal to more than just A&C fans.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Abbott and Costello churned out three service films in 1941 ("Buck
Privates", "In The Navy", and "Keep 'Em Flying"). With the second World
War over, the boys reprise their original roles from "Buck Privates" as
they re-enter the civilian world. Universal Pictures gets some mileage
out of the first picture by offering about ten minutes of highlight
clips, and this footage is basically the only treatment we have of the
comedy team in uniform.
The misadventure begins with seven year old Evie LeBrec (Beverly Simmons) stowing aboard the ship bound for home in Herbie Brown's (Lou) duffel bag. Homeless in France, she more or less adopted Herbie and pal Slicker Smith (Bud) as they head for the States. Nat Pendleton is back as Sergeant Michael Collins and comic foil for Herbie's antics; Evie pulls a fast one to make it seem like the Sarge brought her aboard ship. Eventually she's put under the care of Sylvia Hunter (Joan Fulton), who sees her home safely aboard, and later becomes "Aunt" Sylvia once the ship reaches home.
Once on land, the boys learn that adopting Evie will take some doing, as they need to be gainfully employed, and she'll need a mom. The gainfully employed part comes rather easy, Sylvia's fiancée Bill Gregory (Tom Brown) has built a prototype race car and engine, and hires the boys on to do some selling. In a clever sight (and sound) gag, the boys take the mini car to the bank to seek financing, and as it backfires repeatedly, the scene resembles a bank robbery in progress, just one of the many fixes Herbie gets himself into.
As in the prior service films, there's a frenetic finale to cap things off, as Herbie finds himself in the real car creating traffic mayhem behind the wheel in a variety of vehicular near misses. All's well that ends well though, as the adoption of Evie is assured by the nicely matched couple, "Aunt" Sylvia and Bill. Cute as a button, Beverly Simmons nearly steals the show with her Shirley Temple knock off character, and if she had more screen time would have given A&C a real run for the money.
After two box office disappointments in a row ("Little Giant" and "The
of Their Lives"), Universal put Abbott and Costello back into familiar
territory with a sequel to "Buck Privates." Here, the boys return from
France to find familiarity in civilian life by selling ties on a street
corner again. Costello has stowed away Evie, the French girl who was the
camp mascot, aboard ship, and now must find a way for her to stay in the
Through a series of situations and some funny material, A&C make the best of a sometimes weak script. The film has little continuity from the original "Buck Privates", which explains the excerpt from the original film during the first ten minutes. For continuity's sake, the movie does get a big boost by the return of Nat Pendleton as the sergeant. It also helps matters much when we get to see Costello get a couple of shots into Pendleton -- especially after the abuse he receives from him in the two films! Passable entertainment, and A&C fit back into their old characters well. 6 out of 10.
With the war effort in Europe over and done with, the many men enlisted
into the military return home as heroes. As most of them return to
their previous stations in life, Herbie and Slicker are not overjoyed
with this as it involves them becoming hustlers again. This time though
they have a reason to better their position as Herbie has smuggled
French orphan Evie into the US and is going to struggle to adopt her
legally. The pair do come up with some sort of plan but they can only
succeed if they manage to evade the clutches of the police (in the form
of one Sgt Collins) for long enough.
It has been many decades since I saw Buck Privates and I did want to see it again as I remembered enjoying it. Unfortunately I could not find it so I went with what I could get, which was this sequel, which sees the boys return to their private lives but with as many troubles and challenges as ever. In terms of plotting we are on pretty thin ground here because the only tangible narrative device is a sickly sweet kid (never an easy proposition) and even that is quite uninteresting. The film just about manages to get by because the various comic situations are mostly pretty funny. There aren't really any classic exchanges or situations but it is consistently amusing for those that like this sort of thing.
Abbott and Costello are doing their usual thing but they are far from going through the motions in the way that they would occasionally do in some other films they made. There are some nice in-jokes and Costello is pretty funny with some of his pratfalls and reactions. The overblown car chase at the end isn't them at their best though mainly because it feels like the writers are just looking for something "big" to end on with the hope that the noise will make viewers overlook the fact that it is neither all that clever or funny. Pendleton is pretty good as a fall guy although I did feel for his character a little bit. Brown is so-so, Shawlee is sidelined to the point of being forgettable and Simmons is so sickly that I suspect extras in her scenes developed diabetes.
All told though I quite enjoyed the film. It doesn't have the classic material or the big laughs that their better films produced but it is still an amusing affair that doesn't have too many problems to it and can be easily enjoyed by fans as well as doing an OK job for the casual viewer.
Buck Privates Come Home is directed by Charles Barton and written by
John Grant, Frederic I. Rinaldo and Robert Lees. It stars Bud Abbott,
Lou Costello, Tom Brown, Nat Pendleton, Joan Fulton and Beverly
Simmons. Cinematography is by Charles Van Enger and music by Walter
Abbott and Costello star as two GI's returning from their service who get involved with much malarkey as they try to adopt a six year old orphan who Herbie (Costello) sneaked back in his duffel bag.
The 19th film in the Abbott and Costello series, Buck Privates Come Home is the sequel to Buck Privates from 1941 and evidently it was produced to return the boys to safe commercial ground. It worked and a year later they would pair up with Frankenstein for the first of their much loved films with the Universal Monsters.
Formula is obviously the same as the boys produce high energy slapstick wrapped around a thin plot line. Pace is never less than brisk and with the pair on fine form a number of scenarios score high on the laugh meter. Highlights include sequences involving a time bomb, a sawhorse (come see-saw) table involving food and the customary pie in face gag, Costello in high clothes line peril, some bang-bang at the bank commotion and the finale is a riot as Costello causes chaos behind the wheel of a midget motor car. Pendleton is excellent as the fall guy, first as the army sergeant and later as a New York cop, and Brown and Fulton provide the lovey dovey axis.
Fun and frothy, just how the best A & C films should be. 7.5/10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Nat Pendelton (The Sarge and The Cop) follows the boys into separation from The Army. All of the original cast members are there, plus a precocious little actress as a French Orphan girl, who steals the show. No accent at all, but she's great. A very tight and involved plot for an A&C "B" film. In order to keep "Evy" in "the states: a married couple with employment must adopt her or she goes back to a French Orphanage. Enter the gorgeous blonde ex-WAC and her race car inventor- hubby. Many funny routines, double-takes and action sequences. Lou is in rare form. Yes, the climax is Costello in one of those famously impossible Universal back-lot car chases like the ones in the 1940's W.C. Fields (and other) movies. He can't drive, so he wreaks havoc and several other things in a midget race car. In the "big race", 12 such midget race cars are involved. Flows wonderfully. Very little to do with The Army after the opening scenes and flashbacks. Did I mention it is extremely funny? Thank you again, TCM!
Not sure why others who have commented on this film seem so lukewarm
about it. I think this is a really underrated Abbott and Costello
comedy and the script (contrary to what others have said) is actually
quite good. It is more subtle than some of their earlier films and
actually has a lot of pathos in addition to the comedy. It also has an
amazing chase sequence for a finale.
Also-- this film does not contain the Susquehanna Hat sequence or the chase footage from "Never Give A Sucker An Even Break" (as is stated in two previous comments). The film they are confusing this with is another Abbott and Costello movie, "In Society."
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
After serving in World War II, Abbott and Costello return home to try
to go back to normal life, but further troubles occur along the way.
Six years after Buck Privates was released, Abbott and Costello made this side splittingly hilarious sequel, Buck Privates Come Home. In my point of view, this movie is just as funny (if not funnier) than Buck Privates. It's not very often that a sequel to a movie tends to be better than or just as good as it's predecessor, but this movie was definitely an exception. And after seven or so years in the movie business, Abbott and Costello proved that they still had the magic and where extremely capable of bringing out a very big amount of laughs, as this movie has got laughs all over the place. I'll say that Bud and Lou certainly made a great follow-up to their career breakout film, as in the process, they made a film that was just as great as the previous film.
There are numerous laughs in the movie. Among the funniest scenes include a scene involving a ship's movement and a cake, as well as the scene where Costello sleeps on a clothesline high above the city street, not to mention Costello leading everyone on a wild chase through the city streets. When it came to the laughs, Costello was usually the best, although Abbott managed to provide some laughs as well. But since Costello was usually the unlucky one in the movies, then he usually ended up bringing out the most laughs. More hilarity comes from Nat Pendleton, reprising his role as Collins, who his now back to being a policeman, and he still crosses paths and gets at odds with Bud and Lou, the latter especially.
Along with Hold That Ghost and Buck Privates, this movie would definitely rank as one of Abbott and Costello's best movies. While there are some of Abbott and Costello's movies that I like better than others, I can say that I haven't seen one of their movies that I absolutely hated. Seeing Abbott and Costello constantly getting into problems never gets tiresome, as it's always a pleasure to laugh at them, even during their later films, while they weren't as good as their earlier classics, they still were capable of producing fun and laughs, and that's all that matters. Don't get me wrong, I also enjoy The Three Stooges and Laurel And Hardy, but Abbott and Costello have something that at times makes them funnier than the two teams that I just mentioned.
If you have about an hour and 20 minutes to kill, and are looking for some good laughs, then this is definitely the movie will definitely do the trick for you. You'll split your sides at many of the hilarious gags, jokes, and tricks that Bud and Lou get up to in this movie, they can solve problems, and cause them at the same time. So with a lot of laughs, this movie has a lot to recommend. Basically, if saw and really loved Buck Privates, then you will enjoy this film just as much (if not more).
BUCK PRIVATES COME HOME (Universal-International, 1947), directed by
Charles T. Barton, reunites the comedy team of Bud Abbott and Lou
Costello in a sequel to the film that made them instant sensations,
that being BUCK PRIVATES (1941). In the original premise, they played a
couple of street merchants selling neckties to suckers on Times Square,
only to be chased about by Mike Collins (Nat Pendleton), a cop, into a
recruiting office where the two unwittingly sign up as army buck
privates, with Collins, already enlisted, assigned as their sergeant.
Along the way they encounter two guys (Lee Bowman and Alan Curtis) in
love with the same girl (Jane Frazee), with musical interludes supplied
by the Andrews Sisters. While the supporting players and specialty acts
don't appear this time around, Nat Pendleton does, resuming where he
left off six years before, chasing after his former buck privates who
have come home for more mishaps.
Following the current movie trend revolving around returning war veterans made famous by Samuel Goldwyn's THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (1946), "Slicker" Smith and Herbie Brown (Abbott and Costello) are first presented through flashback sequences and narration taken from BUCK PRIVATES, including the memorable drill routine, before shifting to present time with them and crew on a vessel bound for the states. With the war in Europe behind them, they have one problem, Herbie has smuggled Yvonne LeBrec (Beverly Simmons), a little French orphan girl hidden inside his duffel bag. Although Herbie's intentions in adopting the child are honorable, she must to be sent back on the next boat. Held for the immigration authorities, Evey is left under the care of army nurse, Sylvia Hunter (Joan Fulton). Evey cleverly breaks away from the authorities into the guardianship of Slicker and Herbie again, whom she has located peddling ties on their old corner, and saving them from being arrested by their former sergeant, Mike Collins (Nat Pendleton), now back on the the police force in his old beat. Unable to return to their apartment, they take up residence with Sylvia, with Evie sharing room with her, Slicker sleeping in bathtub and Herbie on clothes line outside the fire escape. They soon acquire jobs assisting Bill Gregory (Tom Brown), Sylvia's boyfriend, retrieve his midget race car being held at Mulrooney's Garage on an $8,000 debt. Problems arise for Slicker and Herbie with Collins hot on their trail to return Evey to immigration, and getting demoted by his captain (Donald MacBride) each time the boys outwit him.
As entertaining as BUCK PRIVATES was, and remains, BUCK PRIVATES COME HOME is every bit as funny as the original. Aside from Abbott and Costello routines worked well into the plot, Costello demonstrates his ability as a fine fine actor when allowed to become serious, particularly where telling his sergeant how wrong it would be to send Evey back to France, and another where the former army men are singing happily to "We're Coming Home" while Costello's Herbie, missing the child after being taken away, sits sadly alone on his cot. This doesn't take away from the comic character Costello has created, especially in a scene that follows in the Fort Dix Separation Center where he encounters a recruiting officer in a "Keep your shirt on/ take it off" routine, then asking him "Is your name Abbott?" Costello also takes the spotlight in the race car sequence that ranks one of the funniest climatic scenes ever captured on film, followed by another "in joke" thrown in where Herbie unwittingly drives the race car through a billboard outside a building that reads "Abbott and Costello in 'Romeo and Juliet'" Much of the team's encounters with Mike the cop in BUCK PRIVATES COME HOME apparently serves as a dress rehearsal for their television series "The Abbott and Costello Show" (1952-54) with the boys being harassed by another Mike the Cop, this time enacted by Gordon Jones.
Beverly Simmons, the little girl who plays Evey, is certainly a charmer, even when disguised as a little boy. She might have served as Universal's answer to MGM's current child star, Margaret O'Brien, but with only few prior film roles to her credit, Simmons' career never expanded as far as this edition to BUCK PRIVATES, with this being the only film for which she appears to be in circulation in later years, ranging from commercial television dating back to the 1960s, to home video and broadcasts on cable TV's the Disney Channel (1990s), and American Movie Classics (2001-02).
It's a wonder how many script revisions and unused footage were made before coming up with the final result to what becomes of the buck privates after coming home from the war. The result is hilarious. (***).
This happens extremely rarely but yes, this sequel to the original "Buck Privates" is better. Why? There's more of A&C in this one actually as opposed to the original which has more musical numbers in it and more of a romance subplot. In "Buck Privates Come Home" there's more typical A&C burlesque routines that made them famous in the first place. I'm speaking primarily of the 'ol "Floogle Street Sketch" and the story about Floogle Street and the Susquehannah Hat Company. Either the street name or the name of the hat company sets everyone off whenever Lou mentions them to passing pedestrians. It is pure classic comedy, of which apparently writers forgot how to do nowadays. I highly recommend this flick!
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