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Buck Privates Details


Filmed on a B-picture budget, Buck Privates was Universal's biggest box-office hit of 1941, firmly securing the movie popularity of the studio's hot new team of [[Performer~P69~Bud Abbott~budabbott]] and [[Performer~P15240~Lou Costello~loucostello]]. The story is fairly evenly divided between the antics of [[Performer~P69~Bud~budabbott]] and [[Performer~P15240~Lou~loucostello]]-here cast as sidewalk salesmen Slicker Smith and Herbie Brown-and the romantic triangle involving Randolph Parker III ([[Performer~P7762~Lee Bowman~leebowman]]), Judy Gray ([[Performer~P24878~Jane Frazee~janefrazee]]) and Bob Martin ([[Performer~P16277~Alan Curtis~alancurtis]]). Escaping the wrath of policeman Mike Collins ([[Performer~P55898~Nat Pendleton~natpendleton]]), Slicker and Herbie duck into a nearby movie theater, which unbeknownst to them has been converted into a US Army recruiting center. As the boys are reluctantly inducted into the Service, wealthy draftee Parker hopes to pull a few strings to avoid putting on a uniform, while Parker's former chauffeur Martin willingly answers his call to the Colors. Once ensconced in boot camp, Slicker and Herbie continually run afoul of their sergeant, who is none other than their old nemesis Mike the cop. Meanwhile, Parker and Martin vie for the attentions of USO hostess Judy, who'll have nothing to do with Parker until he proves his worth as a soldier. Poor Slicker and Herbie are shunted into the background as the romantic subplot is resolved, but at least our heroes get to steal the film's closing scene. It's hard to believe that anyone cared about the Parker-Martin-Judy triangle with [[Performer~P69~Abbott~budabbott]] & [[Performer~P15240~Costello~loucostello]] on hand to perform their classic "dice game", "awkward squad", "turn on the radio" and "boxing ring" routines-not to mention their timeless verbal exchanges, the best of which finds [[Performer~P69~Bud~budabbott]] convincing [[Performer~P15240~Lou~loucostello]] that if he marries an underage girl, she'll eventually be older than he (it plays better than it reads!) As a bonus, the film spotlights the [[Performer~P1698~Andrews Sisters~theandrewssisters]], performing such top-ten tunes as "Apple Blossom Time" and "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy". Even from the vantage point of six decades, with the WWII draft but a dim memory, it is easy to see why Buck Privates was such a huge success. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

  • Release date:January 31, 1941


Awarded by
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Hughie Prince Best Song 1941 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Charles Previn Best Score 1941 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Don Raye Best Song 1941 Nominee


Lee Bowman
as Randolph Parker III
Alan Curtis
as Bob Martin
Bud Abbott
as Slicker Smith
Lou Costello
as Herbie Brown
Jane Frazee
as Judy Gray
Nat Pendleton
as Sgt. Michael Collins
Samuel S. Hinds
as Maj. Gen. Emerson
Harry Strang
as Sgt. Callahan
Nella Walker
as Mrs. Parker II
Leonard Elliott
as Henry
Shemp Howard
as Chef
Mike J. Frankovich
as Announcer
Dora Clement
as Miss Durling
Maxene Andrews
as Herself
Charles Coleman
as Edmunds
Hughie Prince
as Henry Sloan
Selmar Jackson
as Captain
Don Raye
as Dick Burnette
James Flavin
Douglas Wood
as Mr. Parker
Tom Tyler
as Instructor


Arthur Lubin
Alex Gottlieb
John Grant
Arthur Horman
Milton Krasner
Charles Previn
Composer (Music Score)
Hughie Prince
Composer (Music Score)
Phil Cahn
Nick Castle