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FRANCIS (1950)
Article #980 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 11-20-2003
Posting Date: 4-18-2004
Directed by Arthur Lubin
Featuring Donold O'Connor, Patricia Medina, Zasu Pitts

A second lieutenant is saved from an enemy barrage by a talking mule. His repeated encounters with the mule cause him to be repeatedly put under psychiatric care.

Since talking animals are a fantasy concept, this opens up the floodgates for a huge number of movies and shorts; just consider how many short cartoons I may have to cover. Of course, live action talking animals are a little more impressive, especially if a decent job is done of syncing up the voice (Chill Wills in this case) to the movements of the animal's lips, which is done admirably here. Despite the silly concept, the humor is a little restrained, but it works well enough for several reasons, such as the immensely likeable performance by Donold O' Connor, the smartass voice work of Chill Wills (pun intended), and the occasional touch that shows a certain amount of thought and care went into this one. This would be the first of six movies, although the last one would replace both O'Connor and Wills. The movie also features familiar character actor John McIntyre, Ray Collins, Mikel Conrad, and a young Tony Curtis.

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