At War With the Army (1950)

“I know you’re a sergeant and I’m only a private. The least you could do is be a little friendly!”

A private (Jerry Lewis) and a sergeant (Dean Martin) deal with bureaucracy and mishaps in a WWII army training camp.


Based on a play by James Allardice, At War With the Army was Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin’s first starring vehicle together, and thus holds a special place in film history. On its own merits, it comes across as a mildly amusing — though often stagy — spoof of military rigmarole, along the lines of Joseph Heller’s Catch-22. Lewis and Martin don’t have enough screen time together, but each performs admirably on his own: Lewis is as wacky as ever, and Martin is appropriately suave. An ongoing sub-plot about a beautiful but dumb pregnant woman (Jean Ruth) trying to get ahold of former-flame Martin leads to a satisfying, unexpected conclusion.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Jerry Lewis as Alvin Korwin
  • A clever skewering of military bureaucracy and hierarchies

Must See?
Yes, simply for its historical status as Lewis and Martin’s first film together.



One Response to “At War With the Army (1950)”

  1. First viewing – though it’s possible I saw this when I was a very young film fanatic. At any rate, I don’t think it’s must-see. It’s not all that funny or all that memorable for any reason.

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