Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5
USA, 1941. Universal Pictures. Screenplay by Arthur T. Horman, special material for Abbott and Costello by John Grant. Cinematography by Jerome Ash, Milton R. Krasner. Produced by Alex Gottlieb. Music by Ted Cain, Charles Previn. Production Design by Jack Otterson. Costume Design by Vera West. Film Editing by Philip Cahn. Academy Awards 1941.
Abbott and Costello are at the top of their game in this delightful, silly comedy that delivers laughs while also providing some good morale boosting for America’s upcoming entrance into the war. The comedy duo are selling ties on the sidewalk without a license when they are spotted by the fuzz and need to beat a retreat to avoid getting arrested. They run into what they think is a movie theatre to hide, but accidentally get themselves recruited in to the U.S. Army instead! They’re sent to training camp along with a spoiled rich playboy who has volunteered at the same time as his valet, the messaging about the democratizing nature of army life not at all subtle as the latter has the guts to tell his former boss what he really thinks of him while they fight over the same girl. Bud and Lou treat the audience to plenty of their word play-based gags while Costello elicits plenty of laughs in training maneuvers (eventually getting himself promoted to peeling potatoes). The rib-tickling skits are filled out by superb performances of big-band musical numbers by the Andrews Sisters (also in their prime), including their introducing the world to the Oscar-nominated song “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”.