|Index||6 reviews in total|
I have to admit, this film has nothing much to recommend it except for the
fact that it was among the very first movies I ever saw. I believe it was
the Fox Theater in New Orleans, off Elysee Blvd. way, way back there. I
I was young enough to be mightily impressed at how on earth they got a
to talk! I'm still not sure.
Anyway, Donald O'Connor is one of the more underrated musical comedy guys from back then, and the show as a whole is pleasantly sawdust-brained. It's part of my education in films, and I love it just for that.
It lacks the warmth found in the original film, but it is certainly
funnier and has a better storyline than the second installment. Some
audiences may be put off by the military setting considering that this
film is supposed to be a light family film, but it does add some
tensions to the story.
Francis the Mule is not quite the center of attention (It is as though the film should be called "Peter Goes to West Point"), but his role is much more involved here than it was in the second film. In fact, the film shift the attention away from Peter Stirling to Francis towards the end of the film.
On the whole, this film is worth your time whether or not you are a fan of the series.
This is the third in the Francis, the Talking Mule series. It begins with Peter and Francis at a plant where they save the building from being blown up. So Stirling now ends up at West Point. Some later familiar faces turn up here: David Janssen (credited as Dave, later of "The Fugitive") and James Best (yes, the later Roscoe P. Coltrane on "The Dukes of Hazzard"!) as a couple of guards at the place giving Peter a hard time, and Leonard Nimoy (partially recognizable as a younger version of Mr. Spock from the original "Star Trek" despite not wearing his hair with bangs and no pointy ears!) as one of the cadet football players. As usual, the funniest scenes involve Chill Wills' voice as the mule and his interactions with not only Donald O'Connor but some of the supporting players who discover Francis talking to them. So on that note, Francis Goes to West Point is worth a look.
The third in the FRANCIS THE TALKING MULE series is yet another
ordinary affair, with nothing much to recommend in it. The setting is
military school, with Francis missing in action far too much of the
time, as well as most of the laughs, apparently. The only thing
interesting for me was spotting a very young Leonard Nimoy as a cadet
late into the film.
It's a shame that more entertainment was not accomplished with this formula, as Donald O'Connor and his jabbering jackass had the potential for being an entertaining pair together.
** out of ****
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The 3rd film in the Francis film series. I would judge this one to be
less interesting than the next 2 installments. Our story begins ,not at
West Point, but an atomic energy plant where Don is working and Francis
hangs out. Francis tells Don about a sabotage to occur that night. The
security forces are ready and nab the would be perpetrators. In reward,
Don gets a recommendation to become a cadet at West Point.
Early on, Don is last in his class in academics. Francis finds out and begins tutoring Don both in academics and field drills. Soon, he is near the top of his class.
On the sidelines, Francis gives strategy advice to the football coach, who wonders where the voice comes from. Later, he finds out it comes from Francis, who continues to give him play advice.
Don is accused of being married, with his wife pregnant(against regulations). If true, he will have to drop out. Don agrees he has a wife expecting a baby. He thinks he is protecting the star quarterback, but he has the truth garbled. Frances figures out what is going on and pleads with the commander to let Don stay. Francis also gives a locker room pep talk.
Incidentally, while Don is doing punishment drills, the leader queries "What do you think you're doing? Walking your baby back home?" Interestingly, Don costarred in a musical comedy released the next year called "Walking My Baby Back Home"!
Although I have always had a strong affection for the Francis pictures, probably because I grew up with them, I always found that the preponderance of military settings in the series was a little claustrophobic and cramped the potential for humour. (Consequently my favourites have always been Francis Goes to the Races and Francis Covers the Big Town). In Francis Goes to West Point I find this tendency to be at its most pronounced. Not only are we saddled with a military setting (and a confined one at that, so that there is not even the chance to open the story out a little), but as well as the usual mandatory romance between Peter Stirling and some Universal starlet, there is a another romantic subplot involving other cast members, and a hackneyed football sub-plot as well. For this reason I have always found this instalment the weakest in the series, an honour generally accorded to Francis in the Haunted House, but I'd take that over this any day. Pity that the opening scenes where Stirling saves a government plant from saboteurs didn't lead to some other kind of storyline.
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