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The truthful soldier Stirling didn't know how to lie about his source of information, the talking army Mule, Francis, so he was treated as a lunatic and led to one after another hilarious situations, where the mule was the only one that appeared in his right mind. In the process of all this, the mule assisted in uncovering a spy, Mareen, who pretended to be lost among the jungles, but was actually... This is a perfect family film, even amusing to the adults. If people all have enough sense as this talking mule does, the world will be a much better place than its present condition. Written by
Talking animals have been a big draw for the big screen and small. From the Francis the talking mule series to the current Dog With A Blog there is something perverse in the human spirit where we enjoy seeing animals outsmart humans, especially verbally. I guess it was the secret of the success of the series.
In this first film which I don't think Universal thought would turn into a series, Donald O'Connor is back from the war and telling his boss at the bank he works at Charles Meredith about his interesting experiences in the China-Burma-India theater of the late war. After being separated from his outfit young 2nd Lieutenant O'Connor gets back to his base when a talking army mule named Francis showed him the way.
That gets him assigned to G-2 Intelligence and he pulls off quite a few coups. But when asked to reveal his source O'Connor tells his superiors it was a talking mule. That lands him in the Psych ward under the tender care of nurse Zasu Pitts.
The human players must truly have had to suck it in and realize that the mule with Chill Wills's voice was upstaging them. Some real recognition goes to John McIntire who plays a general who is the only other person that Francis the Talking Mule ever talked to in the series besides O'Connor and Mickey Rooney in the last film. McIntire may have been one of the greatest actors who ever lived, managing to keep a straight face while dialoging with a jackass.
If you don't blink you'll see Tony Curtis in a small role as another officer. And Patricia Medina lends her beauty as a fetching lady spy.
If you like Dog With A Blog or Mister Ed, you'll enjoy the Francis series.
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