Directed by Arthur Lubin
Produced by Robert Arthur
Written by David Stern (also novel)
Starring Donald O’Connor
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s) 1950
Running time 91 minutes
Country United States
This is yet another of those films that I used to see all the time on a Sunday afternoon on Channel 10’s Golden Years of Hollywood, but never see anymore. There are seven Francis movies in all, but I think that the first one, the one that I watched today, is the one that was mostly shown on TV. The movie featured Donald O’Connor as a lieutenant in Burma during WWII whose life is saved by a smart-ass talking mule named Francis. Of course Francis was a precursor to the famous Mr. Ed who appeared on TV in the 60s.
I enjoyed the film a lot this time around and thought that Donald O’Connor was likeable as Peter Stirling. Francis naturally enough steals every scene that he (actually Francis was in real life a she) is in and the supporting cast is fine too. ZaSu Pitts, who the Olive Oyl’s cartoon persona was based on, appears here as does a young Tony (billed as Anthony) Curtis in a bit part.
Francis was popular enough to hve featured in another six films, as well as comic books and on a record album. As I mentioned earlier Mr. Ed was a show that was a lot like Francis and made by the same creative team.