The Adventures of Francis the Talking Mule, Vol. 1 [DVD]
- SKU: 6362768
- Release Date: 06/01/2004
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- Closed Captioned
In this fourth of the "Francis" series, former Army officer Peter Stirling (Donald O'Connor) becomes a reporter for a big city newspaper. His greatest source of news tips is his talking mule Francis (voice by Chill Wills), who has become friendly with all the police horses. When asked how he manages to stay abreast of the news, Peter tries to explain about Francis, and is not unexpectedly labelled a looney-tune. But when Peter is brought to court on a homicide charge, Francis breaks his self-imposed rule of talking only to Peter and testifies on his master's behalf. With Francis' aid, Peter cracks the murder case and is graduated to star reporter. At fadeout time, Francis is seen wooing a female zebra, explaining "Don't let the striped pajamas fool ya." Francis Covers Big Town is harmless fun, bolstered by an expert supporting cast, including the always reliable Gene Lockhart (as Peter's editor) and Gale Gordon (as a flustered D.A.). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Francis Goes to the Races
In this funny sequel to the popular Francis the Talking Mule the loquacious equine and his plucky pal Peter (Donald O'Connor) get a job working on a horse-breeder's ranch and end up saving it from financial ruin when Francis, who has the inside track with the racehorses, provides Peter with names of the winners before the races are run. Sure enough Peter finds himself with a fistful of cash and uses it to buy a racehorse for the farm. Unfortunately, the mare he chooses is suffering from a debilitating lack of confidence. Fortunately, Francis is around to perk her up. When not dealing with the mare, Peter finds time to court the horse- breeder's lovely niece. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi
One wonders if Donald O'Connor would have consented to star in Francis if he knew that a series was to follow. Adapted by David Stern from his own novel, the film stars O'Connor as GI Peter Sterling, who appears to be bucking for a Section Eight. Seems that Sterling keeps insisting 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. With Francis' help, Sterling breaks up a Nazi spy ring and becomes a hero -- but this is only the beginning, as the future entries in Universal's Francis series would prove over and over. Providing able support to the hapless O'Connor are Patricia Medina, Ray Collins, and especially ZaSu Pitts as a bewildered Army nurse. The voice of Francis is provided by Chill Wills, who likewise showed up in most of the Francis sequels, and who, like O'Connor, bailed out before the final entry, Francis in a Haunted House (1956). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Francis Goes to West Point
Francis Goes to West Point is the third entry in Universal's money-spinning series about a talking mule. Donald O'Connor once again stars as Peter Sterling, who with the garrulous Francis' helps prevent the destruction of an atomic energy plant. As a reward, Peter is given a scholarship to West Point, where he quickly distinguishes himself as the military academy's biggest foul-up. Peter's future as an officer and a gentleman is saved by the timely arrival of Francis, who functions as the West Point football team's mascot. This time around, O'Connor is allotted two lovely leading ladies, played by Lori Nelson and Alice Kelly. Two of the West Point cadets are played by future TV favorites David Janssen and James Best. And as always, Francis' Southern-fried voice is supplied by Chill Wills. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Cast & Crew
- Donald O'Connor - Peter Stirling
- Yvette Dugay - Maria Scola
- Gene Lockhart - Tom Henderson
- Nancy Guild - Alberta Ames
- Larry Gates - Dan Austin