Francis Covers the Big Town (1953)

Article 2247 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-11-2007
Posting Date: 10-7-2007
Directed by Arthur Lubin
Featuring Donald O’Connor, Yvette Duguay, Gene Lockhart

Peter Stirling gains employment at a newspaper in the hopes of becoming a big reporter. Francis the talking mule uses his ability to talk with horses to help Peter get big scoops (you know, the inside track on stories, NOT scoops of of other things mules might produce). However, troubles arise when Peter uncovers the truth about a protection racket.

Yes, it’s another Francis the Talking Mule movie. Taken individually, these movies are passable light comedy. Taken in toto, they’re tedious repetitions of the same gags, and I’m afraid this this one, despite eschewing the usual military milieu of the series, is pretty formulaic. I’m really tired of gags involving Peter bringing in someone to meet Francis, and Francis refusing to talk to them until Francis decides to insult them. I’m really tired of Peter undergoing psychiatric examinations because people think he’s crazy for talking to a mule. I’m really tired of the movie always ending with Francis saving Peter’s hash by appearing before a large group of people and proving that he can talk. All those scenes are here in spades, or course, and the fact that this may be slightly better than the other entries in the series does little to alleviate things. The best things here are the familiar faces that pop up; Gene Lockhart plays a newspaper editor, Gale Gordon plays a district attorney, Maurice Cass (Professor Newton from the Rocky Jones series) pops up as a psychiatrist, John Qualen is here as an inordinately meek lawyer (and he pretty much steals the show in his few scenes), and Eddie Parker pops up as well.

This marks the fifth entry of this series I’ve seen. Two more to go.



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