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Master Sgt. "Murph" Savage impersonates a fallen general in the hope of inspiring his fellow soldiers to bravely fight their way out of a Nazi ensnarement. He might succeed if he can avoid the one soldier who knows his true identity. Written by
Adam Thomas <email@example.com>
NBC originally scheduled this film for broadcast on November 23, 1963. However it was canceled due to coverage of the death of President John F. Kennedy, and it wasn't broadcast until January 11, 1964. See more »
Glenn Ford and Red Buttons take a mighty big chance trying to impersonate a general. It's a court martial offense if they're caught.
Although the film goes overboard in silliness at times, Imitation General is a pretty good comedy from the talented director/actor team of George Marshall and Glenn Ford who also did the riotously funny The Sheepman that same year.
Sergeant Ford and Corpoal Buttons are assigned and driving General Kent Smith in a forward area that gets a bit too forward and cut off from the main allied lines. They're surrounded and Smith is killed.
Deciding that leadership is needed in the area Ford takes off his master sergeant stripes and puts on the late general's stars and pretends to be him. He and Buttons manage to pull it off all the time trying to avoid Private Tige Andrews who has a grudge against Ford.
The action in Imitation General is fast and furious and Ford deadpans his way through another comedy triumph. Though I have to say that it should only have been so easy to take out German tanks as is shown here.
Look for good performances by Dean Jones as a combat fatigue suffering soldier that Ford due to his ersatz rank gets back into shape. Also Kent Smith is very good even though he's killed off in the first twenty minutes. His performance is quite moving and it does explain why he was a beloved figure and why Ford and Buttons are doing the crazy things they are.
Imitation General, a good comedy not to be missed when shown on TCM because it's not out on VHS or DVD.
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