In post-WW2 France, U.S. Army hospital private Hogan and Captain Locke try to outwit one another on issues such as wooing pretty nurses, accounting for missing medical supplies, organizing unauthorized dances and influencing their C.O.
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Private Hogan must raise his ability to scheme and plot to a new level to put on a madcap dance to celebrate the closing of an Army surgical hospital in post WWII France while evading the stickler-for-details Captain Locke - and win the heart to the beautiful nurse Lieutenant Betty Bixby. Written by
Rick Munoz <email@example.com>
5' 2" Mickey Rooney dances with 5' 8" Marilyn Hanold, perhaps an intentional reprise of Rooney's scene in the 1946 picture, "Love Laughs at Andy Hardy," in which he dances with 6' 2"" Dorothy Ford. See more »
The x-ray of the abdomen showing the duodenal ulcer is held up and looked at backwards each time. See more »
Operation Mad Ball is a peculiar combination of MASH and McHale's Navy, taking some of the best elements of both tried and true military service comedies. Jack Lemmon and Ernie Kovacs are a pair of beautifully matched antagonists.
It's France after VE Day and our army is just an army of occupation now and awaiting orders either for home or may be the Pacific Theater. Jack Lemmon would like to throw a big blowout for everyone before they all separate. But the killjoy of the proceedings is Ernie Kovacs who is a petty martinet and constantly getting in the way of all Lemmon's schemes the way Captain Binghamton used to do with Lieutenant Commander McHale. And sad to say he doesn't have an island at his disposal where he could ship McHale off to the way Joe Flynn exiled Ernie Borgnine and the rest of his PT Crew.
There's a little bit of Frank Burns on Kovacs's character as well as he tries to do things the military way while the commanding officer Arthur O'Connell is a doctor who just wants to run a hospital. See what happens at the beginning when Kovacs tries to court martial Lemmon and how O'Connell just gets out of it.
But the main problem is getting the party together without Kovacs finding out about it. Lemmon is nothing if not resourceful and his main problems is getting women for the party. What's a party without them, but the only women available are the nurses and the army's seen fit to commission them bringing in that pesky no fraternization rule. That in fact is what almost got Lemmon that court martial as Kovacs thought he was getting to familiar with Kathryn Grant. After all that was territory he had staked out and no enlisted man was going to move in on him.
Look for a nice performance by Mickey Rooney in the small role of a human encyclopedia running a port facility, a key guy in Lemmon's plans. And you haven't lived until you've heard an extremely bad version of In The Mood done on harmonica and ocarina. Good thing Glenn Miller had died before listening to this.
Operation Mad Ball sad to say is too little seen these days. It's a great introduction to those who want to study the comedic art of Jack Lemmon. Try not to miss it when broadcast.
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