The Info List - Buck Privates

Buck Privates
Buck Privates
is a 1941 musical military comedy film that turned Bud Abbott and Lou Costello
Lou Costello
into bona fide movie stars. It was the first service comedy based on the peacetime draft of 1940. The comedy team made two more service comedies before the United States
United States
entered the war (In the Navy and Keep 'Em Flying). A sequel to this movie, Buck Privates Come Home, was released in 1947. Buck Privates
Buck Privates
is one of three Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
films featuring The Andrews Sisters, who were also under contract to Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures
at the time. Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
performed a radio adaptation of the film on the Lux Radio Theater
Lux Radio Theater
on October 13, 1941.


1 Cast 2 Plot 3 Production 4 Reception 5 Award nominations 6 World War II 7 Rerelease 8 Andrews Sisters 9 Home media releases 10 Trivia 11 References 12 External links


Bud Abbott
Bud Abbott
as Slicker Smith Lou Costello
Lou Costello
as Herbie Brown Lee Bowman
Lee Bowman
as Randolph Parker III Jane Frazee
Jane Frazee
as Judy Gray Alan Curtis as Bob Martin Nat Pendleton
Nat Pendleton
as Sgt. Michael Collins The Andrews Sisters
The Andrews Sisters
as Themselves Samuel S. Hinds
Samuel S. Hinds
as Maj. Gen. Emerson Harry Strang as Sgt. Callahan Nella Walker
Nella Walker
as Mrs. Karen Parker Leonard Elliott as Henry Shemp Howard
Shemp Howard
as Chef

Plot[edit] Slicker Smith and Herbie Brown (Abbott and Costello) are sidewalk peddlers who hawk neckties out of a suitcase. They are chased by a cop and duck into a movie theater, not realizing that it is now being used as an Army Recruitment Center. Believing that they are signing up for theater prizes, they end up enlisting instead. Meanwhile, spoiled playboy Randolph Parker (Lee Bowman) and his long-suffering valet, Bob Martin (Alan Curtis), are also enlisting at the old theater. Randolph expects his influential father to pull some strings so he can avoid military service. Bob, on the other hand, takes his military obligations in stride. Tensions between the two men escalate with the introduction of Judy Gray (Jane Frazee), a camp hostess and friend of Bob's upon whom Randolph sets his sights. At boot camp, Slicker and Herbie are mortified to discover that the policeman who chased them (Nat Pendleton) is now their drill instructor(!). Randolph, meanwhile, learns that his father will not use his influence on his behalf, believing that a year in the Army will do Randolph some good. Life at camp is not so bad, since The Andrews Sisters appear at regular intervals to sing patriotic or sentimental tunes, and Herbie continues to screw up with little consequence. Randolph decides to skip an army shooting match, although he is an expert marksman, in order to meet with Judy. The company loses the match—on which, knowing Randolph's shooting skill, they had bet a sizeable amount of money with a competing unit—causing them to resent him. However, during a war game exercise, Randolph redeems himself by saving Bob and coming up with a ruse to win the exercise for his company. He is finally accepted by his unit, and wins Bob's and Judy's admiration in the process. He soon learns that he's been accepted to Officer Training School but initially refuses, thinking that his father's political influence was responsible. However, his commanding officer assures him that his training record (along with recommendations from others in his class) factored in the decision. Randolph later finds out that Bob has also been offered an appointment to OTS, and Judy announces that she will be joining them as a hostess at the OTS training facility. As their Drill Sgt has won bets with the "Blue army" Smith and Brown try to sucker play with dice the Sgt gambling winnings-but its Brown who ends up losing his "pants" and having to wear a barrel! Production[edit] Buck Privates
Buck Privates
was filmed from December 13, 1940, through January 11, 1941. It was originally budgeted at $233,000 and meant to shoot over 20 days; in the end it went $12,000 over budget and four days over schedule.[1] The famous "drill routine", where Smitty tries to get Herbie and other soldiers to march in formation, was actually a series of shorter takes that were strung together to expand the bit to more than three minutes of screen time.[1] Reception[edit] The film received positive reviews from critics. Theodore Strauss of The New York Times
The New York Times
called it "an hour and a half of uproarious monkeyshines. Army humor isn't apt to be subtle and neither are Abbott and Costello. Their antics have as much innuendo as a 1,000-pound bomb but nearly as much explosive force."[3] Variety wrote, "Geared at a zippy pace, and providing lusty and enthusiastic comedy of the broadest slapstick, Buck Privates
Buck Privates
is a hilarious laugh concoction that will click solidly in the general runs for profitable biz."[4] Film Daily enthused, "If ever a 'sleeper' appeared out of Hollywood, this is it ... the attraction is a grand, madcap musical which packs a whale of a wallop for the general public liking laughs galore on the frankly slapstick side."[5] Harrison's Reports called it "A good comedy for the masses ... Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
definitely establish themselves as a comedy team that should win wide popularity."[6] Award nominations[edit] The film received two Academy Award
Academy Award
nominations in 1941. Hughie Prince and Don Raye
Don Raye
were nominated for an Academy Award
Academy Award
for Best Original Song for Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy
Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy
and Charles Previn
Charles Previn
was nominated for an Academy Award
Academy Award
for Original Music Score (Scoring of a Musical Picture). This film was one of the biggest money-makers of the year for Universal, grossing over $4 million at the box office at a time when movie tickets averaged 25 cents. It performed so well, in fact, that Universal gave director Arthur Lubin—who was under contract at a fixed salary—a $5000 bonus.[7] World War II[edit] Japan
used this film as propaganda to demonstrate to its own troops the "incompetence" of the United States
United States
Army.[1] Rerelease[edit] It was re-released in 1948, and again on a double bill with Keep 'Em Flying in 1953. It was one of Universal's most successful war time films. Andrews Sisters[edit] The Andrews Sisters
The Andrews Sisters
perform four songs during the course of the film: "You're a Lucky Fellow, Mr. Smith", "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy", "Bounce Me, Brother, With a Solid Four", and "(I'll Be With You) In Apple Blossom Time". Their performance of "Bounce Me, Brother, With a Solid Four" also features one of the more famous Lindy Hop
Lindy Hop
dance sequences of the swing era. Many dancers from Los Angeles, including Dean Collins, Jewel McGowan, Ray Hirsch, and Patty Lacey, are featured. The composers of the songs sung by the Andrews Sisters are Don Raye and Hughie Prince, who appear in the film as new recruits alongside Abbott and Costello. Home media releases[edit] This film was released on VHS and Beta in 1983, then re-released on VHS in 1989 and again in 1991. This film has been released three times on DVD. Originally released as single DVD on April 1, 1998 OCLC 44543569, it was released twice as part of two different Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
collections. The first time, on The Best of Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
Volume One, on February 10, 2004, and again on October 28, 2008 as part of Abbott and Costello: The Complete Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures
Collection. A Blu-ray edition was released on April 17, 2012. Trivia[edit]

The Shooting match scene, when a rival company has Tennessee "Sharpshooters", is an oblique reference to Sergeant York. Julia's mention that her father was a Captain in the "Fighting 69" is an oblique reference to The Fighting 69th. The film is advertised on a cinema marquee in 1941.


^ a b c d e Bob Furmanek & Ron Palumbo, Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
in Hollywood, Perigree Books 1991 p 42-48 ^ Town Called HOLLYWOOD Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 04 May 1941: C3. ^ Strauss, Theodore (February 14, 1941). "Movie Reviews - Buck Privates". The New York Times. Retrieved December 14, 2015.  ^ "Buck Privates". Variety. New York: Variety, Inc. February 5, 1941. p. 12.  ^ "Reviews of New Films". Film Daily. New York: Wid's Films and Film Folk, Inc.: 9 February 3, 1941.  ^ "'Buck Privates' with Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Lee Bowman
Lee Bowman
and Alan Curtis". Harrison's Reports: 27. December xx, 1941.  Check date values in: date= (help) ^ imdb.com

External links[edit]

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Buck Privates
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on IMDb Buck Privates
Buck Privates
at the TCM Movie Database

v t e

Abbott and Costello

Bud Abbott Lou Costello


One Night in the Tropics Buck Privates In the Navy Hold That Ghost Keep 'Em Flying Ride 'Em Cowboy Rio Rita Pardon My Sarong Who Done It? It Ain't Hay Hit the Ice In Society Lost in a Harem Here Come the Co-Eds The Naughty Nineties Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
in Hollywood Little Giant The Time of Their Lives Buck Privates
Buck Privates
Come Home The Wistful Widow of Wagon Gap The Noose Hangs High Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
Meet Frankenstein Mexican Hayride Africa Screams Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
in the Foreign Legion Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
Meet the Invisible Man Comin' Round the Mountain Jack and the Beanstalk Lost in Alaska Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
Meet Captain Kidd Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
Go to Mars Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
Meet the Keystone Kops Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
Meet the Mummy Dance with Me, Henry The 30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock
The 30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock
(Costello only) The World of Abbott and Costello


10,000 Kids and a Cop


The Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
Show (List of episodes) The Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
Cartoon Show (Abbott only)


Who's on First?

Key personnel

John Grant Arthur Lubin

v t e

Films directed by Arthur Lubin

A Successful Failure (1934) Great God Gold (1935) Honeymoon Limited (1935) Two Sinners (1935) Frisco Waterfront (1935) The House of a Thousand Candles (1936) Yellowstone (1936) Mysterious Crossing (1936) California Straight Ahead!
California Straight Ahead!
(1937) I Cover the War
I Cover the War
(1937) Idol of the Crowds
Idol of the Crowds
(1937) Adventure's End
Adventure's End
(1937) Midnight Intruder (1938) The Beloved Brat (1938) Prison Break (1938) Secrets of a Nurse (1938) Risky Business (1939) Big Town Czar (1939) Mickey the Kid (1939) Call a Messenger (1939) The Big Guy
The Big Guy
(1939) Black Friday (1940) Gangs of Chicago (1940) Meet the Wildcat (1940) I'm Nobody's Sweetheart Now (1940) Who Killed Aunt Maggie? (1940) The San Francisco Docks (1940) Where Did You Get That Girl? (1941) Buck Privates
Buck Privates
(1941) In the Navy (1941) Hold That Ghost
Hold That Ghost
(1941) Keep 'Em Flying
Keep 'Em Flying
(1941) Ride 'Em Cowboy
Ride 'Em Cowboy
(1942) Eagle Squadron (1942) To the People of the United States
United States
(1943) White Savage
White Savage
(1943) Phantom of the Opera (1943) Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (1944) Delightfully Dangerous (1945) The Spider Woman Strikes Back
The Spider Woman Strikes Back
(1946) Night in Paradise
Night in Paradise
(1946) New Orleans (1947) Impact (1949) Francis (1950) Francis Goes to the Races (1951) Rhubarb (1951) Francis Goes to West Point
Francis Goes to West Point
(1952) It Grows on Trees
It Grows on Trees
(1952) South Sea Woman
South Sea Woman
(1953) Francis Covers the Big Town (1953) Star of India (1954) Francis Joins the WACS
Francis Joins the WACS
(1954) Footsteps in the Fog
Footsteps in the Fog
(1955) Francis in the Navy
Francis in the Navy
(1955) Lady Godiva of Coventry
Lady Godiva of Coventry
(1955) The First Traveling Saleslady
The First Traveling Saleslady
(1956) Escapade in Japan
(1957) The Thief of Baghdad (1961) The Incredible Mr. Limpet
The Incredible Mr. Limpet
(1964) Hold On! (1966) Rain for a Dusty S