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A millionaire falls for an army nurse, who tells him she likes men in uniform. So he enlists at Camp Cluster. She still has no time for him, so he figures out how to get into the hospital and under her care. His induction physical exam, his injury, his hospital stay, and a sudden emergency take us to the question: will she fall for him? Written by
Not as bad as many of Buster's other shorts for Columbia Pictures!
In the late 1930s and early 1940s, the great Buster Keaton was out of work and in desperate need for money so he made a string of forgettable short films for Columbia Pictures. Although he was a comic genius during the silent era, his career in sound movies was mostly horrible due to the industry's unwillingness to simply let him do what he did best and they insisted in trying to force him into uncomfortable molds that just didn't work. Sadly, because Keaton was lousy with money, he was so hard up for cash and unwilling to balk with the studios that he made some dreadful film and TV appearances that probably made him ashamed to look in the mirror. This is a stark contrast to Chaplin and Lloyd who made far fewer sound films but chose them much better. Plus, they knew when to walk away and retain much of their dignity. This is particularly true of Harold Lloyd, who never would have appeared in American-International movies such as BEACH BLANKET BINGO or a particularly wretched episode of "The Twilight Zone" like Keaton did.
As for the Columbia shorts, they were directed and produced by Jules White who was also responsible for the Three Stooges shorts. This is very, very obvious when you watch the Keaton shorts as the plots look indiscernible from the Stooges' films--with the same gags, sound effects and style. In fact, in some cases, Keaton does the same plots the Stooges had first done and this isn't surprising. That's because Columbia OFTEN repeated plots and many of the Stooges' later shorts for the studio are remakes of their earlier films! While Stooges die-hards might excuse this and think ALL of their films are gems, this is definitely NOT true--the remakes are definite duds. As for Keaton fans (and I am definitely one--having seen more of his silent films than practically anyone on the planet), they will also usually admit that his sound films were pretty poor and the Columbia films were at best passable entertainment. Plus, the Stooges' style is a horrible thing to try to fit the great Keaton into. It's akin to putting Greta Garbo in a Marx Brothers film!!!
Sadly, while GENERAL NUISANCE is a poor outing, it's probably better than most of the Columbia outings. So, if you don't like this film, you should probably steer clear of the rest! Like so many of their films, the film co-stars the rather untalented and annoying Elsie Ames and Dorothy Appleby.
This time Buster falls for Dorothy and decides to join the army because she likes men in uniform! While having Keaton in a military film is dumb since he's 46 and looks 46, this can be forgiven given that many other comedians did similarly improbable army films in 1941! The portly Lou Costello (age 34) did BUCK PRIVATES. The 49 year-old and morbidly obese Oliver Hardy did GREAT GUNS and Stan was 51 at the time! So, in hindsight, it was not only a great year for war comedies but Keaton was more believable than most of the rest--though Bob Hope at 38 and in better shape was probably best cast in CAUGHT IN THE DRAFT which, amazingly enough, was ALSO released in 1941!
Fortunately, some of Keaton's old physical humor is used in the film. While a few of the stunts appear to involve stunt men, many clearly don't and it's nice to see he can still take a fall or do a back-flip. Unfortunately, much of the plot is downright stupid (such as a man who thinks people are cows and he wants to butcher them) or straight from a Stooges film (such as the many 'antics' in the hospital). The results are at best interesting and at worst embarrassing. Truly a dull little film and I suggest unless you are a glutton for punishment you stop here with this film and not see any more--they don't get any better!
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