Universal Pictures: Celebrating 100 Years
Film - Series
Sunday, August 19, 2012
Although the eponymous Francis (Chill Wills) is a talking mule, he has little in common with his equine relative Mister Ed, or indeed his leporine contemporary, Harvey (1950). No, the premise for Francisa facetious creature in possession of privileged knowledge who obstinately collapses the human hierarchies which he encountersgoes back to the Menippean satire of The Golden Ass. Substituting wartime Burma for the ancient Roman world, and introducing Peter Stirling (Donald OConnor) as the hapless pariah, Francis addresses serious topics about military ways with a mulish cynicism.
Written by David Stern, from his novel. Photographed by Irving Glassberg. With Donald OConnor, Patricia Medina, ZaSu Pitts, Ray Collins. (91 mins, B&W, 35mm)