Buck Privates (1941)

on January 31, 1941 by BOXOFFICE Staff
Classic Reviews Timeliness is this feature's greatest asset. As the first of an impending large number of pictures dealing with the draft and other phases of national defense, it will doubtlessly strike a popular chord and register revenue scores of husky proportions. The task of spinning a yarn about life in Uncle Sam's newly recruited army is undertaken with a tongue-in-cheek attitude, which keeps the motivation within the established limits of musical comedy most of the way. Consequently, during the film's comic and musical moments -- and they predominate -- it is very good entertainment, approaching the riotous at times. In which departments, credit goes to Abbott and Costello and the Andrews Sisters, respectively. When the story veers towards its few dramatic, super-patriotic and romantic interludes, however, it loses ground, attributable principally to weak performances by the remaining members of the cast. Arthur Lubin's direction, his first "A" assignment, is of high calibre.

Make over theatre front and lobby to look like a recruiting post, with a "soldier" doing "sentry duty" on the sidewalk in front. Hold a special "draft" preview to which neighborhood draftees are invited at courtesy rates. Perhaps one of the R.O.T.C. units could be persuaded to present a drill team on the stage. Abbott and Costello, radio comics, and the Andrews Sisters, renowned singing ensemble, rate the marquee credits. Arrange tieups with music stores on the Andrews Sisters' recordings and on the six songs contained in the picture.

It's a Riot of Music and Laughter... As Abbott and Costello Become Units in Uncle Sam's Great Draft Army... And Nearly Upset the Whole Defense Program... They Were Caught in the Draft... And Found Life as Rookie Soldiers Better Than Being Constantly Behind the Eight Ball. Universal 84 mins.

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