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)





Complete credited cast:
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
Loren Tindall ...
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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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 The Lords of Salem (2012) See more »


My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean
Traditional Scottish folk song
Performed by Chill Wills
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User Reviews

Arthur Lubin's Secret Weapon
4 July 2014 | by See all my reviews

Mild-mannered bank teller Donald O'Connor (as Peter Stirling) explains some strange behavior to his boss by explaining how he met "Francis" – a talking mule. We flashback to Mr. O'Connor's World War II service. In Burma, the wounded second lieutenant is stranded behind enemy lines. Francis carries O'Connor to an Army hospital, then disappears. Of course, of course everyone thinks O'Connor's crazy when he mentions befriending a talking mule. At a dance, O'Connor meets shapely Patricia Medina (as Maureen Gelder). Watch, here, for young Anthony "Tony" Curtis to appear briefly as a sex-starved soldier. Suddenly, Francis appears to whisk O'Connor away for an important mission...

Neither the best nor the funniest film in the "Francis" series, this first effort has lost a little freshness in comparison. Still, you have good chemistry between O'Connor and Francis (voiced by Chill Wills). The scenes with the duo, directed by Arthur Lubin, play well...

After the films ran their course, Mr. Lubin took the concept to TV with the series "Mister Ed" (starring Alan Young). Probably due to difficulty obtaining rights, "Ed" (a talking horse) replaced "Francis". Both were derived from literary works, where the horse preceded the mule. The preference of the talking animal for his human friend, his frequent attempts to take O'Connor (and later, Young) away from female companionship, adeptness with the telephone and other story elements are here. Lubin's series became charmingly more surreal over the years, fitting the 1960s perfectly.

****** Francis (the Talking Mule) (2/50) Arthur Lubin ~ Donald O'Connor, Patricia Medina, Chill Wills, Zasu Pitts

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