Buck Privates Come Home (1947) Poster

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"We're Going' Home, We're Going' Home"
bkoganbing6 March 2006
We managed to win World War II in the European theater even with the presence of Bud and Lou in the American Army. The boys who enlisted in the army to get away from the cops in Buck Privates and found their nemesis patrolman, Nat Pendleton, as their sergeant are now returning veterans. Only Costello managed to smuggle in little Beverly Simmons, a French war orphan, in his duffel bag. Imagine going across the Atlantic without a change of clothes.

Beverly's the company mascot and she's adopted Costello so Bud and Lou are going to adopt her. Of course they run into all kinds of problems with the army, with the police and with immigration. Then again their situations make for the plot of Buck Privates Come Hone.

The original Buck Privates was as much musical as it was burlesque comedy. With the Andrews Sisters, Jane Frazee, there was not one dull moment in this film. For some reason the writers here did not include much of the classic comedy routines. There's only one here, the famous Left/Right routine with Costello getting all balled up with the word "right." No musical numbers except the men singing about how they're going home.

Lots of physical comedy though, depending as much on Nat Pendleton's reactions as well as Costello's knack for getting into situations that no one else could possibly. And we can't forget Donald MacBride who has the best slow burn in films save for Edgar Kennedy.

The climax is Costello's wild ride in a midget racing car which is well staged. Buck Privates Come Home isn't quite up to the standard they set in their wartime films, but it's still pretty funny and should appeal to more than just A&C fans.
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"I'd marry him if I was a little bigger and he was a little littler."
classicsoncall6 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Abbott and Costello churned out three service films in 1941 ("Buck Privates", "In The Navy", and "Keep 'Em Flying"). With the second World War over, the boys reprise their original roles from "Buck Privates" as they re-enter the civilian world. Universal Pictures gets some mileage out of the first picture by offering about ten minutes of highlight clips, and this footage is basically the only treatment we have of the comedy team in uniform.

The misadventure begins with seven year old Evie LeBrec (Beverly Simmons) stowing aboard the ship bound for home in Herbie Brown's (Lou) duffel bag. Homeless in France, she more or less adopted Herbie and pal Slicker Smith (Bud) as they head for the States. Nat Pendleton is back as Sergeant Michael Collins and comic foil for Herbie's antics; Evie pulls a fast one to make it seem like the Sarge brought her aboard ship. Eventually she's put under the care of Sylvia Hunter (Joan Fulton), who sees her home safely aboard, and later becomes "Aunt" Sylvia once the ship reaches home.

Once on land, the boys learn that adopting Evie will take some doing, as they need to be gainfully employed, and she'll need a mom. The gainfully employed part comes rather easy, Sylvia's fiancée Bill Gregory (Tom Brown) has built a prototype race car and engine, and hires the boys on to do some selling. In a clever sight (and sound) gag, the boys take the mini car to the bank to seek financing, and as it backfires repeatedly, the scene resembles a bank robbery in progress, just one of the many fixes Herbie gets himself into.

As in the prior service films, there's a frenetic finale to cap things off, as Herbie finds himself in the real car creating traffic mayhem behind the wheel in a variety of vehicular near misses. All's well that ends well though, as the adoption of Evie is assured by the nicely matched couple, "Aunt" Sylvia and Bill. Cute as a button, Beverly Simmons nearly steals the show with her Shirley Temple knock off character, and if she had more screen time would have given A&C a real run for the money.
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A decent sequel
jimtinder7 February 2001
After two box office disappointments in a row ("Little Giant" and "The Time of Their Lives"), Universal put Abbott and Costello back into familiar territory with a sequel to "Buck Privates." Here, the boys return from France to find familiarity in civilian life by selling ties on a street corner again. Costello has stowed away Evie, the French girl who was the camp mascot, aboard ship, and now must find a way for her to stay in the US.

Through a series of situations and some funny material, A&C make the best of a sometimes weak script. The film has little continuity from the original "Buck Privates", which explains the excerpt from the original film during the first ten minutes. For continuity's sake, the movie does get a big boost by the return of Nat Pendleton as the sergeant. It also helps matters much when we get to see Costello get a couple of shots into Pendleton -- especially after the abuse he receives from him in the two films! Passable entertainment, and A&C fit back into their old characters well. 6 out of 10.
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Doesn't have the classic material or the big laughs that their better films produced but it is still an amusing affair that doesn't have too many problems
bob the moo9 December 2009
With the war effort in Europe over and done with, the many men enlisted into the military return home as heroes. As most of them return to their previous stations in life, Herbie and Slicker are not overjoyed with this as it involves them becoming hustlers again. This time though they have a reason to better their position as Herbie has smuggled French orphan Evie into the US and is going to struggle to adopt her legally. The pair do come up with some sort of plan but they can only succeed if they manage to evade the clutches of the police (in the form of one Sgt Collins) for long enough.

It has been many decades since I saw Buck Privates and I did want to see it again as I remembered enjoying it. Unfortunately I could not find it so I went with what I could get, which was this sequel, which sees the boys return to their private lives but with as many troubles and challenges as ever. In terms of plotting we are on pretty thin ground here because the only tangible narrative device is a sickly sweet kid (never an easy proposition) and even that is quite uninteresting. The film just about manages to get by because the various comic situations are mostly pretty funny. There aren't really any classic exchanges or situations but it is consistently amusing for those that like this sort of thing.

Abbott and Costello are doing their usual thing but they are far from going through the motions in the way that they would occasionally do in some other films they made. There are some nice in-jokes and Costello is pretty funny with some of his pratfalls and reactions. The overblown car chase at the end isn't them at their best though mainly because it feels like the writers are just looking for something "big" to end on with the hope that the noise will make viewers overlook the fact that it is neither all that clever or funny. Pendleton is pretty good as a fall guy although I did feel for his character a little bit. Brown is so-so, Shawlee is sidelined to the point of being forgettable and Simmons is so sickly that I suspect extras in her scenes developed diabetes.

All told though I quite enjoyed the film. It doesn't have the classic material or the big laughs that their better films produced but it is still an amusing affair that doesn't have too many problems to it and can be easily enjoyed by fans as well as doing an OK job for the casual viewer.
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Bud and Lou not only come home, they also return to form.
Spikeopath19 December 2012
Buck Privates Come Home is directed by Charles Barton and written by John Grant, Frederic I. Rinaldo and Robert Lees. It stars Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Tom Brown, Nat Pendleton, Joan Fulton and Beverly Simmons. Cinematography is by Charles Van Enger and music by Walter Schuman.

Abbott and Costello star as two GI's returning from their service who get involved with much malarkey as they try to adopt a six year old orphan who Herbie (Costello) sneaked back in his duffel bag.

The 19th film in the Abbott and Costello series, Buck Privates Come Home is the sequel to Buck Privates from 1941 and evidently it was produced to return the boys to safe commercial ground. It worked and a year later they would pair up with Frankenstein for the first of their much loved films with the Universal Monsters.

Formula is obviously the same as the boys produce high energy slapstick wrapped around a thin plot line. Pace is never less than brisk and with the pair on fine form a number of scenarios score high on the laugh meter. Highlights include sequences involving a time bomb, a sawhorse (come see-saw) table involving food and the customary pie in face gag, Costello in high clothes line peril, some bang-bang at the bank commotion and the finale is a riot as Costello causes chaos behind the wheel of a midget motor car. Pendleton is excellent as the fall guy, first as the army sergeant and later as a New York cop, and Brown and Fulton provide the lovey dovey axis.

Fun and frothy, just how the best A & C films should be. 7.5/10
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Back from the Front
lugonian31 May 2009
BUCK PRIVATES COME HOME (Universal-International, 1947), directed by Charles T. Barton, reunites the comedy team of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in a sequel to the film that made them instant sensations, that being BUCK PRIVATES (1941). In the original premise, they played a couple of street merchants selling neckties to suckers on Times Square, only to be chased about by Mike Collins (Nat Pendleton), a cop, into a recruiting office where the two unwittingly sign up as army buck privates, with Collins, already enlisted, assigned as their sergeant. Along the way they encounter two guys (Lee Bowman and Alan Curtis) in love with the same girl (Jane Frazee), with musical interludes supplied by the Andrews Sisters. While the supporting players and specialty acts don't appear this time around, Nat Pendleton does, resuming where he left off six years before, chasing after his former buck privates who have come home for more mishaps.

Following the current movie trend revolving around returning war veterans made famous by Samuel Goldwyn's THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (1946), "Slicker" Smith and Herbie Brown (Abbott and Costello) are first presented through flashback sequences and narration taken from BUCK PRIVATES, including the memorable drill routine, before shifting to present time with them and crew on a vessel bound for the states. With the war in Europe behind them, they have one problem, Herbie has smuggled Yvonne LeBrec (Beverly Simmons), a little French orphan girl hidden inside his duffel bag. Although Herbie's intentions in adopting the child are honorable, she must to be sent back on the next boat. Held for the immigration authorities, Evey is left under the care of army nurse, Sylvia Hunter (Joan Fulton). Evey cleverly breaks away from the authorities into the guardianship of Slicker and Herbie again, whom she has located peddling ties on their old corner, and saving them from being arrested by their former sergeant, Mike Collins (Nat Pendleton), now back on the the police force in his old beat. Unable to return to their apartment, they take up residence with Sylvia, with Evie sharing room with her, Slicker sleeping in bathtub and Herbie on clothes line outside the fire escape. They soon acquire jobs assisting Bill Gregory (Tom Brown), Sylvia's boyfriend, retrieve his midget race car being held at Mulrooney's Garage on an $8,000 debt. Problems arise for Slicker and Herbie with Collins hot on their trail to return Evey to immigration, and getting demoted by his captain (Donald MacBride) each time the boys outwit him.

As entertaining as BUCK PRIVATES was, and remains, BUCK PRIVATES COME HOME is every bit as funny as the original. Aside from Abbott and Costello routines worked well into the plot, Costello demonstrates his ability as a fine fine actor when allowed to become serious, particularly where telling his sergeant how wrong it would be to send Evey back to France, and another where the former army men are singing happily to "We're Coming Home" while Costello's Herbie, missing the child after being taken away, sits sadly alone on his cot. This doesn't take away from the comic character Costello has created, especially in a scene that follows in the Fort Dix Separation Center where he encounters a recruiting officer in a "Keep your shirt on/ take it off" routine, then asking him "Is your name Abbott?" Costello also takes the spotlight in the race car sequence that ranks one of the funniest climatic scenes ever captured on film, followed by another "in joke" thrown in where Herbie unwittingly drives the race car through a billboard outside a building that reads "Abbott and Costello in 'Romeo and Juliet'" Much of the team's encounters with Mike the cop in BUCK PRIVATES COME HOME apparently serves as a dress rehearsal for their television series "The Abbott and Costello Show" (1952-54) with the boys being harassed by another Mike the Cop, this time enacted by Gordon Jones.

Beverly Simmons, the little girl who plays Evey, is certainly a charmer, even when disguised as a little boy. She might have served as Universal's answer to MGM's current child star, Margaret O'Brien, but with only few prior film roles to her credit, Simmons' career never expanded as far as this edition to BUCK PRIVATES, with this being the only film for which she appears to be in circulation in later years, ranging from commercial television dating back to the 1960s, to home video and broadcasts on cable TV's the Disney Channel (1990s), and American Movie Classics (2001-02).

It's a wonder how many script revisions and unused footage were made before coming up with the final result to what becomes of the buck privates after coming home from the war. The result is hilarious. (***).
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Sequel better than the original.
maxcellus4612 April 2006
This happens extremely rarely but yes, this sequel to the original "Buck Privates" is better. Why? There's more of A&C in this one actually as opposed to the original which has more musical numbers in it and more of a romance subplot. In "Buck Privates Come Home" there's more typical A&C burlesque routines that made them famous in the first place. I'm speaking primarily of the 'ol "Floogle Street Sketch" and the story about Floogle Street and the Susquehannah Hat Company. Either the street name or the name of the hat company sets everyone off whenever Lou mentions them to passing pedestrians. It is pure classic comedy, of which apparently writers forgot how to do nowadays. I highly recommend this flick!
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A&C sneak a Shirley Temple-like war orphan into the US
weezeralfalfa9 September 2017
Warning: Spoilers
The film begins with some flag-waving stock newsreel footage of masses of marching soldiers. Then, 5-10 min. of scenes from "Buck Privates", especially those involving drill Sgt. Collins(Nat Pendleton), who was also their nemesis as a police officer before the war. He will again be a major character in this story, as he and Abbott and Costello settle back into their pre-war personas. Collins' beat territory changes in tune with the changing locations of A&C, so that he can continuously pester them. A goodly share of the film also related, directly or indirectly to stowaway war orphan, 6 y.o. Shirley Temple-like, Beverly Simmons, as Evey, who spent the journey home in Lou's duffle bag! The boys hope to adopt her, but will find that they need stable jobs and residence before they can qualify. Keeping her from being deported back to France requires stealth, luck, and pleading. Much of officer Collins' time is spent looking for Evey and her probable companions Her brief initial dealings with pretty WAC Sylvia, and through her, Bill, provides much of plot for the last portion, in which Sylvia provides a temporary home for them, and leads the transformation of their newly acquired old bus into a cheap home. Meanwhile, Bill, Sylvia's boyfriend, has financial problems resulting from his needing parts to build his mini racing car. A&C suggest maybe they can help, by loaning their severance pay, getting a GI loan, and borrowing money from their service buddies. Their attempt to get a GI loan is a huge disaster, as the small model made by Bill shoots out flame and makes a sound like gunshots when Costello pushes it along the loan officer's desk, leaving his office a total wreck. The noise scares the customers and draws police, and Lou can't figure out how to stop it. Very funny! Anyway, eventually, A&C get enough money to release his car from the garage where it is being kept. However, Collins and his henchmen have staked out the garage, so they are ready to fight when Bill and the boys arrive to take the car, at night. A free-for-all results, with the boys winning. At the racetrack, Bill wins the last qualifying race in preparation for the main race, with a $20,000. purse.

Time for the main race, but Collins and his goons show up, looking for Evey and Costello. So, Lou jumps in Bill's racer, and gets on the race track, weaving and spinning, as he has no experience driving a vehicle. He heads out into NYC traffic, then enters a horse race track with a race going on, then he's speeding down an air runway, before he goes through a brick wall: hilarious keystone cops-like performance. Bill had no chance to enter the race, but a car manufacturer is impressed by its performance, and orders 20 cars, plus 200 motors. Thus, Bill appears to have a promising financial future, so that he can marry Sylvia and adopt Evey.

One of the funniest sketches occurs when A&C & Evey are spending the night at Sylvia's. Costello sleeps in the bathtub, while Lou makes a primitive hammock out of a bed spread, some clothespins, and a clothesline that runs between the fire escape and the building across an alley. Amazingly, Lou doesn't fall out, but in the morning, the woman on the other end of the clothesline wants to pull the line toward her to get her clothes, but then sees Lou. She screams and her husband arrives and pulls the line his way. Abbott then pulls the line the other way. This battle continues back and forth, until the husband cuts the line, causing Lou to swing down to the next apartment, where he crashes through the window, lands on an occupied bed, causing the bed to fold into the wall, and back out again. Would have been even funnier if his bedmate had been a woman, but I doubt if the censorship board would have approved that.

In summary, this is a real laughathon. In terms of comedy, it's more fun than "Buck Privates", which was a musical comedy, in contrast to the present film. Many reviewers complain about the often inclusion of musical numbers in A&C films as disrupting the comedy. I think it depends on the nature of the screenplay.
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A must for A&C fans!
JohnHowardReid3 September 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Producer: Robert Arthur. Copyright Universal Pictures Co., Inc. and C.S. Co., 25 March 1947. New York opening at the Winter Garden: 11 April 1947. U.S. release: April 1947. U.K. release: 4 August 1947. Australian release: 16 October 1947. 6,942 feet. 77 minutes.

U.K. release title: ROOKIES COME HOME.

SYNOPSIS: After serving nobly — if ineffectually — as soldiers in World War II, Slicker (Bud Abbott) and Herbie (Lou Costello) board a troop transport to return to the United States.

During an inspection on board ship, Sergeant Collins (Nat Pendleton) and his captain (Don Porter) discover Evey (Beverly Simmons), a six- year-old French orphan whom Herbie has smuggled aboard.

The captain orders that Slicker and Herbie peel spuds until they mend their ways and that Evey be held for immigration authorities by a nurse, Sylvia (Joan Fulton), who also is a passenger. NOTES: A sequel to Buck Privates (1941), with Bud Abbott, Lou Costello and Nat Pendleton reprising their original roles. In fact this film actually opens with the famous "drill routine" footage from Buck Privates.

COMMENT: Upstanding entertainment for Abbott and Costello fans with some amusing routines and a good chase finale. It is the only Abbott and Costello feature that is a sequel to another film and the only one to use footage from one of their previous features. In fact, the first ten minutes consists of a reprise of "Buck Privates", including the opening sequence and the classic drill routine, tied together with some stock newsreel footage and a commentary spoken by Knox Manning.

This movie is also unusual in its absence of musical numbers. There is a snippet of a going home song when the film itself starts, but that is all. There is also a very slight attempt at serious social comment, a factor not present in any other A&C film. The story itself is on the sentimental side, though it is not laid on to anything like the same extent as "The Little Giant". Production values are first-class.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: In order to get race shots that would burn up the movie screens, Producer Bob Arthur and Director Charles Barton checked all recent auto race results and found the men with the best records. A full week was spent at Gilmore Stadium in Los Angeles shooting the racers from all different angles, with the drivers often cutting loose at speeds of more than 100 miles per hour.

Included in the list are four of last year's Indianapolis 500-mile racers, Ronnie Householder, Duke Nalon, Henry Banks and Louis Tomei. There also are five of the Pacific Coast's top drivers, including Cal Niday, Al Sherman, Bob Pankratz, Chick Barbo and Lyle Dickey. George Davis, Australian champion, was brought in for the film, as were Mark Hilling, former motor cycle racer who has switched to the small cars, and Duane Carter who is well-known in the eastern and mid-western circuits. — Universal Press Release.
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A Winner! Never saw it before! Great car chase climax!
mike4812825 April 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Nat Pendelton (The Sarge and The Cop) follows the boys into separation from The Army. All of the original cast members are there, plus a precocious little actress as a French Orphan girl, who steals the show. No accent at all, but she's great. A very tight and involved plot for an A&C "B" film. In order to keep "Evy" in "the states: a married couple with employment must adopt her or she goes back to a French Orphanage. Enter the gorgeous blonde ex-WAC and her race car inventor- hubby. Many funny routines, double-takes and action sequences. Lou is in rare form. Yes, the climax is Costello in one of those famously impossible Universal back-lot car chases like the ones in the 1940's W.C. Fields (and other) movies. He can't drive, so he wreaks havoc and several other things in a midget race car. In the "big race", 12 such midget race cars are involved. Flows wonderfully. Very little to do with The Army after the opening scenes and flashbacks. Did I mention it is extremely funny? Thank you again, TCM!
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Underrated A&C and a little more heart than usual.
ttherman-225 March 2008
Not sure why others who have commented on this film seem so lukewarm about it. I think this is a really underrated Abbott and Costello comedy and the script (contrary to what others have said) is actually quite good. It is more subtle than some of their earlier films and actually has a lot of pathos in addition to the comedy. It also has an amazing chase sequence for a finale.

Also-- this film does not contain the Susquehanna Hat sequence or the chase footage from "Never Give A Sucker An Even Break" (as is stated in two previous comments). The film they are confusing this with is another Abbott and Costello movie, "In Society."
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KyleFurr214 September 2005
This movie just seems to cash in on the original film which was a big hit back in 1941 but the past couple of movies from Abbott and Costello were flops and this movie does seem to be just thrown together. I don't know if this movie was a hit or not but their careers didn't do that well until they started making their monster movies like Frankenstein and The Mummy. I can't believe Leonard Maltin actually gave this three stars and said it was better then the original. This movie stars right after the war in which they are going home but it turns out Costello brought a kid back on the boat and the kid is a foreign citizen and Costello tries to hide the kid, so she can't be deported. She is found out but escapes and winds up hiding out with Abbott and Costello and Nat Pendleton who was their captain in the army and now a cop is looking for the kid. The movie just doesn't work and does seem thrown together.
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A rarity....
simeon_flake25 October 2014
One of the rare sequels that tops the original--of course, I'm one of those who thought the original "Buck Privates" was greatly overrated. Too much singing and dancing and the Andrews sisters for my liking. No such problems here--as aside from a few singing numbers from the service boys, Bud & Lou are given ample opportunity to work their comedic magic.

Also, this was the first film made after Universal Pictures became "Universal-International"--so it's sort of a milestone picture in that regard. And I would add that it was during the period of Universal- International that the Abbott and Costello comedies were becoming very hit or miss.

The story centers around Lou's attachment to a young orphan girl he met in France during the service and his efforts to get her into America and hopefully adopt her. Of course, this development gets Bud & Lou into some sticky and often hilarious situations.

Perhaps the funniest bit of business is a scene that has nothing to do with the central plot--that being the scene where Lou attaches himself to a laundry line and somehow gets caught in a tug of war between an irate husband and Bud.

Overall, this is one of the best of Bud & Lou's "Universal- International" films and a movie fans of the legendary comedy team should enjoy. 8 stars
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Their Only Sequel.
AaronCapenBanner27 October 2013
Abbott & Costello return as Slicker Smith & Herbie Brown, who are being discharged and sent home after WWII ends. They have become attached to a little French orphan girl named Evie(played by Beverly Simmons) whom they found in the aftermath of liberating France. They smuggle her back home, where they struggle to get her legally adopted. Meanwhile, they also need help finding jobs, so use the G.I. Bill as help, with comedic consequences. A midget-car racer also becomes involved, as does Sgt. Collins(returning Nat Pendleton). Good sequel with a fine premise(a sort of comedic version of "The Best Years Of Our lives") is quite funny and appealing, with an exciting climatic chase sequence. Pity it was their only sequel though(would have liked to have seen one for "Hold That Ghost"! Oh well...)
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Despite a dopey ending and a child in tow, a pretty good Abbott and Costello film.
MartinHafer21 August 2009
Warning: Spoilers
In many ways, this film is a re-working of the Laurel and Hardy film, PACK UP YOUR TROUBLES. That's because like this earlier film, the duo is saddled with an adorable kid and they spend the film ducking the law. To me, this is not a great thing, as I really prefer that comedies not use cute kids. However, this one isn't as cloying as most and she spoke reasonably good French, but why, oh why did they pick a child actress who had no French accent whatsoever--especially when she's playing a French orphan from WWII?! The film begins with Lou trying to smuggle this kid into the country when he and Bud are on their way back to the US on a troop ship. Naturally she is caught, but later in the film the kid escapes and finds her way to Bud and Lou rather easily. Considering it's only New York City, this ease of finding them is understandable (I've heard everybody pretty much knows everybody there). But, to keep the kid, they must stay one step ahead of the police (in particular, their old Sergeant who is now a cop), get good jobs and get married so that they could adopt the kid. It just so happens that a nice WAC on the boat decides to help them and her boyfriend lets them in on a money-making deal with his midget racing car (a small car, not a car driven by a midget).

All this culminates in a long and wacky finale, though I really think this was the low-point of the film. Realism, even by comedy standards, was way out the window and I felt that the whole segment was amazingly dumb. Plus, miraculously, after wrecking everything, the whole film is wrapped up perfectly (and in a very unbelievable fashion). This sort of wrap up reminds me of a Curious George book--the monkey, like Lou, makes a mess of everything but somehow is STILL a hero.

Despite the ending, the film gets very high marks. Part of this is because there is almost no singing at all--only a catchy tune the soldiers sang in the ship. Too often in their earlier films (like BUCK PRIVATES) there were silly production numbers that detracted from the comedy, but not here. Another plus is that although there was a secondary romantic plot, it wasn't a bit part of the film. And, finally, the film was just pretty funny and quite watchable--even with the kid.

I'd say that this is about as good as the original BUCK PRIVATES, though the films are so very different that I'm not sure I'd consider them sequels--the structure, style and content are just too dissimilar.
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