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. Written by
No great art here, just lots and lots of fun. Donald O'Connor's Peter Stirling is endearing, sweet, gullible, and the perfect foil for the acerbic mule who has been called, among other things, Groucho on a bad day. O'Connor was always a top-notch comedien -- he had the ability to render an innocent word or phrase hilarious with an unexpected inflection or the lift of an eyebrow. O'Connor doesn't showcase his extraordinary dancing abilities in this series (more's the pity), but we are definitely treated to the eternally young looking actor's gifts as an actor and comedien. If you can talk your children into sitting through at least ten minutes of any of the movies in the Francis series, they'll be hooked -- and they might just gain appreciation for the talents of a bygone era. The comedy and pacing in "Francis" is slower than today's rapid fire movies, but once introduced, children -- and adults -- generally love them. I know I do!
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