Buck Privates (1941)

“Congratulations, men — we’re glad to have you in the army!”

Buck Privates

Necktie salesmen Slicker Smith (Bud Abbott) and Herbie Brown (Lou Costello) accidentally enlist in the army while trying to escape from the police.


Response to Peary’s Review:
As Peary notes, this popular wartime amusement (it was the biggest box office draw of 1941) “holds up nicely” and still delivers lots of laughs. Abbott and Costello are at their comedic best, and the Andrews Sisters are simply delightful as they sing their way through several rousing songs, including “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B”. See below for a smattering of the film’s many classic vignettes, including Costello’s infamous “drill fumbling” — used as propaganda by the Japanese to showcase America’s military incompetence!

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • The Andrews Sisters!
    Buck Privates Andrews
  • Costello playing craps for the “first” time
    Buck Privates Craps
  • Abbott asking Costello for a $10 “loan”
    Buck Privates Loan
  • Costello fumbling his way through drill exercises
    Buck Privates Drill
  • Costello in the boxing ring
    Buck Privates Boxing

Must See?

Yes. Along with The Naughty Nineties (1945), this is one of Abbott and Costello’s best vehicles, and well worth watching.



One Response to “Buck Privates (1941)”

  1. First viewing – not must-see.

    What may have been extremely popular years ago (in this case, 1941) is not necessarily something that will have a long shelf-life. Most of the humor here is dated – or, if not, it’s only mildly amusing at best.

    The Andrew Sisters are, indeed, a plus (they have lovely harmonies) but their biggest splash – ‘Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy’ – is a 2.5-minute treat that could most likely be seen on YouTube.

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