Francis (1950)

Francis (1950)





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Movie Info

Adapted by David Stern from his own novel, this film stars Donald O'Connor as GI Peter Sterling. It seems that Sterling insists that Francis, a cantankerous Army mule, has the power of speech. It turns out that Francis not only can talk but is also a superb military strategist.
Classics , Comedy , Drama , Kids & Family , Science Fiction & Fantasy
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Tony Curtis
as Capt. Jones
Donald O'Connor
as Peter Stirling
Patricia Medina
as Maureen Gelder
Ray Collins
as Col. Hooker
Zasu Pitts
as Valerie Humpert
John McIntire
as Gen. Stevens
Eduard Franz
as Col. Plepper
Howland Chamberlain
as Maj. Nadel
Howland Chamberlin
as Maj. Nadel
James Todd
as Col. Saunders
Robert Warwick
as Col. Carmichel
Frank Faylen
as Sgt. Chillingbacker
Mikel Conrad
as Maj. Garber
Loren Tindall
as Maj. Richards
Charles Meredith
as Banker Munroe
Judd Holdren
as 1st Ambulance Man
Al Ferguson
as Capt. Dean
Roger Moore
as M.C. Major
Harry Harvey
as Correspondent
Peter Prouse
as Correspondent
Howard Negley
as Correspondent
Duke York
as Sgt. Poor
Joseph Kim
as Japanese Lieutenant
Robert Anderson
as Capt. Grant
Jack Shutta
as Sgt. Miller
Robert Blunt
as 2nd Ambulance Man
Tim Graham
as Lt. Bremm
Jim Hayward
as Capt. Norman
Marvin Kaplan
as 1st M.C. Lieutenant
Harold Fong
as Japanese Soldier
Chill Wills
as Francis the Talking Mule
Mickey McCardle
as Capt. Addison
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Critic Reviews for Francis

All Critics (4) | Top Critics (2)

With information culled (as near as dammit) from the horse's mouth, raw second lieutenant O'Connor becomes a hero of the Burma campaign and, not unnaturally, a candidate for the funny farm.

Full Review… | May 12, 2008
Time Out
Top Critic

It holds a few good laughs -- especially for mules.

Full Review… | May 12, 2008
New York Times
Top Critic

These goofy comedies made more money than anyone expected and director Lubin went on to create another successful talking equine for television in Mr. Ed.

Full Review… | May 12, 2008
TV Guide

The film is funnier in concept than it is in demonstration, but it has endured over time and is pleasant, repeatable entertainment.

May 12, 2008

Audience Reviews for Francis

Not a drama as RT has it, but a comedy hit series of the fifties. Curious mix of WWII and mule encounters by a very young Donald O'Connor and Chill Wills (John Wayne's steadfast acting companion) doing the speaking for the mule. [img][/img] Not hilarious by any stretch, it has its amusing moments. The vernacular of the time included all sorts of cliche comments about the enemy. A real time capsule, much of the sets seem right off a Hollywood set. [img][/img] See the following address for the first encounter between confused Donald the soldier and his future mule acting companion that went on for 5 very popular movies. By the way, the mule was the star, make no mistake. The studio tried to bring big name girl actresses into the films but regardless, Francis the mule stole the show. Series went on to sixties television as Mr. Ed. Director: Arthur Lubin Writers: David Stern (novel), David Stern (screenplay) Stars: Donald O'Connor, Patricia Medina and Zasu Pitts notes: 1 The book and series focused on the exploits of Francis, an experienced Army mule, and Peter Stirling, the young soldier whom he befriends (and stays with through civilian life and then back into the military). In the original 1950 film, the mule identifies himself to the commanding general as "Francis...123rd Mule Detachment...[serial number] M52519." Donald O'Connor received top billing as Peter, but the true star was undoubtedly Francis. 2 To create the impression that the mule was actually talking, Hilton used a thread fed into the animal's mouth, which when tugged, would cause Molly to try to remove it by moving her lips (the same technique used for Mr. Ed). 3 The actual mule who appeared on-screen was not a male at all, but a female named Molly, selected because she was easy to handle. According to author Pauline Bartel, Universal paid $350 for the animal, but made millions from the film series. Films Francis (1950) (aka Francis the Talking Mule) Francis Goes to the Races (1951) Francis Goes to West Point (1952) Francis Covers the Big Town (1953) Francis Joins the WACS (1954) Francis in the Navy (1955) Francis in the Haunted House (1956) Director: Arthur Lubin Writers: David Stern (novel), David Stern (screenplay) Stars: Donald O'Connor, Patricia Medina and Zasu Pitts Technical Specs Runtime: 91 min Sound Mix: Mono (Western Electric Recording) Color: Black and White Aspect Ratio: 1.37 : 1 [img][/img]

monsieur rick
monsieur rick

The hilarious first in the series with Donald O'Connor's character meeting Francis and subsequently helping the army while also getting put in the insane ward. A fun film and worthy intro to the series.

Tim Meyers
Tim Meyers

You can’t go wrong watching one of the Francis the talking mule films. Light and enjoyable entertainment, helped immesurably by the presence of Donald O’Connor. Great fun.

James Higgins
James Higgins

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