15 user 1 critic

Francis (1950)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama, Family | 8 February 1950 (USA)
3:28 | Trailer

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During World War II, a junior American Army officer, Lt. Peter Stirling, gets sent to the psychiatric ward whenever he insists that an Army mule named Francis speaks to him.



(novel), (screenplay)



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Complete credited cast:
... Peter Stirling
... Maureen Gelder
... Nurse Valerie Humpert
... Col. Hooker
... Gen. Stevens (as John McIntyre)
... Col. Plepper
Howland Chamberlain ... Maj. Nadel
James Todd ... Col. Saunders
... Col. Carmichael
... Sgt. Chillingbacker
... Capt. Jones (as Anthony Curtis)
... Maj. Garber
... Maj. Richards
... Banker Munroe
... Francis (as Francis)


The truthful soldier Stirling didn't know how to lie about his source of information, the talking army Mule, Francis, so he was treated as a lunatic and led to one after another hilarious situations, where the mule was the only one that appeared in his right mind. In the process of all this, the mule assisted in uncovering a spy, Mareen, who pretended to be lost among the jungles. Written by Winston Song

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Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

8 February 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Francis the Talking Mule  »


Box Office


$150,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Molly receives an "introducing" credit. See more »


Francis the Talking Mule: I hope to kiss a duck I can talk!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The hand of Peter Stirling open the pages of the novel revealing the credits of the film. See more »


Referenced in Hill Street Blues: Life in the Minors (1983) See more »


My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean
Traditional Scottish folk song
Performed by Chill Wills
See more »

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User Reviews

20 Mule Team laughs
10 October 2013 | by See all my reviews

Talking animals have been a big draw for the big screen and small. From the Francis the talking mule series to the current Dog With A Blog there is something perverse in the human spirit where we enjoy seeing animals outsmart humans, especially verbally. I guess it was the secret of the success of the series.

In this first film which I don't think Universal thought would turn into a series, Donald O'Connor is back from the war and telling his boss at the bank he works at Charles Meredith about his interesting experiences in the China-Burma-India theater of the late war. After being separated from his outfit young 2nd Lieutenant O'Connor gets back to his base when a talking army mule named Francis showed him the way.

That gets him assigned to G-2 Intelligence and he pulls off quite a few coups. But when asked to reveal his source O'Connor tells his superiors it was a talking mule. That lands him in the Psych ward under the tender care of nurse Zasu Pitts.

The human players must truly have had to suck it in and realize that the mule with Chill Wills's voice was upstaging them. Some real recognition goes to John McIntire who plays a general who is the only other person that Francis the Talking Mule ever talked to in the series besides O'Connor and Mickey Rooney in the last film. McIntire may have been one of the greatest actors who ever lived, managing to keep a straight face while dialoging with a jackass.

If you don't blink you'll see Tony Curtis in a small role as another officer. And Patricia Medina lends her beauty as a fetching lady spy.

If you like Dog With A Blog or Mister Ed, you'll enjoy the Francis series.

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