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Francis Joins the WACS (1954)

Approved | | Comedy , Fantasy | 30 July 1954 (USA)
Peter Stirling (with his old friend the talking mule) is recalled to active duty...in the WACs!

Director:

Arthur Lubin

Writers:

Herbert Baker (story), Devery Freeman | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Donald O'Connor ... Peter Stirling
Julie Adams ... Capt. Jane Parker (as Julia Adams)
Chill Wills ... Gen. Benjamin Kaye / Francis the Talking Mule (voice)
Mamie Van Doren ... Cpl. Bunky Hilstrom
Lynn Bari ... Maj. Louise Simpson
Zasu Pitts ... Lt. Valerie Humpert
Joan Shawlee ... Sgt. Kipp
Allison Hayes ... Lt. Dickson
Mara Corday ... Kate
Karen Kadler Karen Kadler ... Marge
Elsie Holmes Elsie Holmes ... Bessie
Anthony Radecki Anthony Radecki ... General's Aide
Olan Soule ... Capt. Creavy, Psychiatrist
Molly ... Francis (as Francis the Talking Mule)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Richard Deems Richard Deems ... Jeep Driver
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Storyline

On arrival at Fort Chase, ex-soldier Peter Stirling, recalled to active duty, is re-united with his old pal Francis the Talking Mule. Gradually, it dawns on Peter that a clerical error has assigned him to an all-female WAC base, where broad slapstick is the order of the day and Francis has more horse sense than any of the human officers. Too innocent to appreciate the pleasant aspects of his predicament, Peter ends by helping the "enemy" in a war-game battle of the sexes. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Fantasy

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 July 1954 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Francis chez les Wacs See more »

Filming Locations:

San Diego, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

2.00 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Film debut of Allison Hayes. See more »

Quotes

Francis the Talking Mule: What trick is there to talking? Any fool can do it.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The last credit is for 'Francis, the talking mule.' See more »

Connections

Follows Francis Covers the Big Town (1953) See more »

Soundtracks

I WANT TO ENLIST IN THE WACS
(uncredited)
Music by Britt Wood and George Beatty
Lyrics by Britt Wood, George Beatty and Frederick Herbert
Sung by Chill Wills
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Naught Here Added To The Formula.
9 January 2005 | by rsoonsaSee all my reviews

Fifth in the series of Universal Studios' talking mule movies, this entry provides very little that is not predictable since the Francis films, in spite of their scripted absurdity, were calculable successes at the box office and there was scant cause to use innovation. Peter Stirling (Donald O'Connor), is recalled to active Army duty, but when the hapless lieutenant is assigned to a Women's Army Corps (WAC) detachment due to a flawed clerical procedure in the Pentagon, neither he nor his new distaff officer companions are pleased with a nonsensical situation. His WAC superiors believe that Peter has been planted as a scout and is being used to undermine their efforts opposing a men's army unit in an upcoming War Games matchup, and Peter and Francis invent a method to persuade the women that he is not there for clandestine purposes. The quaint pair is capable of attempting this because Peter's proxy specialty is training women soldiers to become camouflage experts and since the Games are going to be focused upon just such activity, the situation is readied for crucial events. The film was completed in Spring of 1954, shot primarily at California's Fort Ord, with numerous WACS assigned there being employed as extras in a film that pleasingly reflects the result of high-quality production values contributed by the Universal management. Arthur Lubin, director of all six of the O'Connor featured Francis films, offers sluggish pacing with this item, largely due to an overly complicated scenario that weighs down the final section dealing with camouflage competition between the military men and women. As with all Francis pictures, a primary interest in this one relates to early performances of well-known actors, including the initial yelps of fear from "Scream Queen" Allison Hayes, and Universal ingénues Mamie Van Doren and Julia Adams, although the best playing is by veteran ZaSu Pitts as an undone Army nurse; clever thematic scoring by Irving Gertz was used years later by the Studio for other releases.


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