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Bud and Lou enlist in the army in order to escape being hauled off to jail, and soon find themselves in basic training. To their dismay, the company's drill instructor is none other than the cop who was all set to run them off to the hoosegow in the first place! The boys end up having a whale of a time getting under the skin of their humourless nemesis.Written by
This is one of my favourite outings from Bud & Lou, the start of their phenomenally successful career in the service comedies and one of a series of smile-jerkers from them and Universal. This was also the one that made it for them in the movies and turned them into America's no. 1 box office stars during the War.
They're a couple of street tie-selling con artists who unwittingly join the Army (along with playboy Lee Bowman) in trying to escape the clutches of the Law in the shape of cherubic Nat Pendleton. It's not so easy to escape ones duty however, and so follows a series of unconnected inconsequential adventures learning to be soldiers or lovers all with that special lighthearted wartime Universal treatment. A&C went through their routines with impeccable timing and a professionalism that belied all the slapstick. Favourite bits: playing unintelligible (to me) clubhouse dice; Abbott inoculated and Costello's reaction; the mathematics of borrowing USD 50; the historic performance of Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy by the Andrews Sisters and then the sudden end to the boogie-woogie boxing match; the unusual deadpan arrangement to Jane Frazee's I Wish You Were Here. The Voice Of Hellzapoppin returns! No kidding but what chance did the Japanese and Germans really have - sorry for identifying who the enemies were in these socially inclusive times, because they weren't in the film - to pit themselves against all this? The American War Machine was awakening, with the might of Hollywood behind it and A&C playing their part with their entertaining flagwavers the same as George Formby did on a smaller scale for the British War effort.
The box office success - and critical praise too - of this took Universal by surprise and they didn't make nearly as much money as they could have, a mistake they never made again with A&C. Recommended, an antidote to now and to me always a joy to behold and hear.
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