|Index||5 reviews in total|
While sharing a soda with a young blond boy, hapless Huntz Hall (as
Horace De Bussy "Sach" Jones) mistakes a mock "Air Raid" drill for the
real thing. Feeling patriotic, Mr. Hall takes three of "The Bowery
Boys" to join the U.S. Army. Soon, wise guy leader Leo Gorcey (as
Terence Aloysius "Slip" Mahoney) arrives to find father Bernard Gorcey
(as Louie Dumbrowsky) has barricaded his "Sweet Shop", fearing an
attack. After learning his missing pals have gone to enlist, Mr. Gorcey
seeks to retrieve them. But, Leo Gorcey is tricked into enlisting
himself, by drill sergeant Donald MacBride (as Herbert Frisbie).
After turning the elder Gorcey away as too old, the Army recruits heroic "Major Dumbrowsky", due to his past service record (he invented the "hydrogen ray"). Meanwhile, son Gorcey, Hall, William "Billy" Benedict (as Whitey), Buddy Gorman (as Butch), and David Gorcey (as Chuck) provide Sgt. MacBride and the Army with "Bowery Boy" high-jinx. The best bit involves Gorcey and the gang unwittingly donning officers' uniforms. MacBride's engaging "Sgt. Frisbie" characterization gives the tired, old plot some spark.
**** Bowery Battalion (1/24/51) William Beaudine ~ Leo Gorcey, Huntz Hall, Donald MacBride
Only hampered by the lack of production values that Allied Artists gave
this film, they had just changed their name from Monogram Pictures,
prevents me from giving this more stars. Bowery Batallions finds the
Bowery Boys joining the army and catching a ring of spies, presumably
Communist spies given the year of the film, 1951.
The film is also a great example of how Leo Gorcey was not any smarter than the others, just that he was loud and asserted his authority that way. Huntz Hall and the other geniuses join the army because of a rash of patriotism that wanted them to defend the USA after they mistook a simulated air strike on New York for the real thing. Huntz Hall shooting at planes with kid's cap pistol is a sight.
Leo however joins the army because the same recruiting sergeant who signed Huntz and the gang gets Leo to sign this piece of paper and he can 'visit' his friends. The funniest sequence in the film by far is when he and the other guys grab some uniforms off the rack because they don't like the ill fitting duds the army has given them. Problem is that they're officers uniforms and when wearing them, they're directed to the officer's club for eats and start mingling with the brass they're in a heap of trouble when day one in the Armed Forces hasn't finished.
Donald MacBride is in the film in his usual role as an exasperated authority figure, in this case a sergeant trying to make these boys fit to defend their country. All in all it's a fine Bowery Boys comedy and it might make you fans of their's if you've never seen any of their films.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
If memory and my own reviews of the Dead End/East Side/Bowery Boys are
any indication, this wouldn't have been the gang's first brush with the
military. With a film history spanning the Second World War, having the
boys show up in uniform certainly would have happened before, as in the
final scene of 1942's "Let's Get Tough". In that one, Bobby Jordan, Leo
Gorcey and Huntz Hall each show up at the end of the picture in the
uniform of a different branch of the service. With the early 1950's,
Korea became the world's hot spot, and even though that conflict wasn't
mentioned by name in this picture, the story still managed to elicit
some war time paranoia. Especially with the mock air raid on New York
City and the Empire State Building on prominent display as war planes
flew overhead. I have to admit, it made me a little queasy watching
that opening scene since the events of Nine-Eleven.
Once under way, the story line gets a little disjointed when it's revealed that Louie Dumbrowsky was an Army hero during World War I, during which he became the inventor of the 'hydrogen ray', a newly developed war weapon. If so, I had to wonder why that technology wouldn't have been exploited in the intervening three decades. Funny, but it didn't seem to me that Louie remembered inventing that device until he was 'reminded' by the military brass. And now they make him a Major!?!?
So along with the military hi-jinks, there's a bit of espionage thrown in as enemy agents attempt to steal the hydrogen ray formula with inside help from secretary Marsha Davis (Virginia Hewitt). The funniest bit of the flick was probably the rifle drill run by the Colonel (Russell Hicks), reminiscent of Abbott and Costello's routine in 1941's "Buck Privates". You have to admit, the Colonel asked for it when he barked 'At Ease'.
You know, I had to stop and think about something one of the military recruiters said when they initially turned down Louie when he tried to sign up for the service - "As long as there's old duffers like him around, the country's in great shape". I think I just figured out what the problem is in 2010.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
(Some Spoilers) With the Cold War heating up in Korea fear of an enemy
attack on the USA has reached almost paranoid proportions. It's under
those scary conditions that the Bowery Boys Sach Chuck Whitey and Butch
enlist into the US Army to do their duty as patriotic American fighting
men. Slip who's bit less patriotic is nevertheless forced to join the
US Military in him trying to stop his fellow Bowery Boys from joining
Sent to Ft.Stockton for basic training the Boys turn out to be such a pain in the butt to the US Army and their take no BS drill instructor Sgt.Frisbie that they do more to help the enemy overseas that protect their country here back home! It's later when Sweet Shop owner Louie Dumbrowsky also decided to join the military and fight the commies that it's found out that he invented back in 1918 this Hydrogen Ray! Given a commission,from corporal to major, Major Dumbrowsky is put in charge of the Bowery Boys at Ft.Stockton.
A lot more serious then any of the previous Bowery Boys films "Bowery Battalion" has Slip Sach & Co. take on a commie,in 1951 when the film was made what else could it have been, spy network working right out of Ft.Stokton! It was the commie spies Decker & Conroy together with a inside source, guess who, at the fort who wanted to get their hands on Louie Dumbrowsky's, who had the blueprint for it locked in his head, Hydergen Ray in order to use it against the US and it's allies in any future war with their beloved USSR.
It's later when the Boys are tipped off by the secretly kidnapped, by Decker & Conroy, Louie Dumbrowsky that he's in fact being kidnapped they go into their routine #11 number and save the day and the USA from, by the commies getting the secret of the Hydrogen Ray, total destruction. In the end that the Bowery Boys end up getting a trip to the White House, to be decorated by the President with the Madel of Honor, instead of where they spent most of their time in the movie: The Ft.Stockton guard house & stockade!
P.S Those making the movie "Bowery Battalion" had no idea that they in fact were on to something with putting the super secret "Hydrogen Ray" in it. It was a year later,in the fall of 1952, that the US Military did in fact explode a weapon of mass mass destruction that was called the "H" or more accurately "Hydrogen Bomb"!
Bowery Battalion (1951)
** (out of 4)
Number twenty-one has Slip, Sach and the other three joining the Army accidentally when they think the country comes under attack. Once there they battled with Sgt. Frisbie (Donald MacBride) as Louie (Bernard Gorcey) is called to Washington, D.C. as it turns out he was a WW1 hero who just happened to create a special bomb. Soon a couple spies are trying to kill Louie and it's up to the boys to try and keep him safe. I'm surprised it took so long for the studio to send the boys to the Army especially when you consider most comedy team do this at some point in their careers. Even by 1951 the "dumb recruits" battling the mean drill Sergent had already grown old and sadly this film doesn't add anything new or fresh. I think the biggest problem with the film is that they're working with an incredibly unoriginal story and there's not single attempt to do anything with it. We get so many forced situations that you can't help but sit there and feel as if you've seen it countless times before and done much better. The running gag here is that the boys keep doing dumb things and keep getting thrown into jail. This happens around four times. It wasn't funny the first time and it's certainly not funny any of the other times. I was really surprised at how unfunny many of the scenes where even if they weren't original. Usually the scene where the men try to follow all the instructions at least gets a few laughs but not here. The only saving grace happens early on when the boys don't like their outfits and try on some others, which just happen to belong to some Majors. The boys start going around not fully understanding why everyone is saluting them but of course they figure it out after it's too late. I think Hall comes off the best here as he's at least energetic and tries to keep things moving. Leo doesn't get to do much, which is shocking but even more so is the fact that he's not given any good dialogue to mix up. Daddy Gorcey comes off a little better and especially in the early scene where he tries to enlist. I think the stuff dealing with him missing the boys was quite touching in its own right. With that said, we've simply seen this type of film way too many times and this one here just isn't funny enough to bother with.
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