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Private Snuffy Smith
Snuffy Smith, Yard Bird

USA 1942
produced by
Edward Fross, Jack Dietz (associate), Daniel Keefe (associate) for Capitol Productions, Monogram
directed by Edward F.Cline
starring Bud Duncan, Edgar Kennedy, Sarah Padden, J.Farrell MacDonald, Doris Linden, Jimmie Dodd, Andria Palmer, Patrick McVey, Frank Austin
screenplay by Lloyd French, John Grey, Donoho Hall, Jack Henley, based on the comic strip by Billy DeBeck, musical director: Rudy Schrager, song Time's a-Wastin' by Chic Johnson, Ole Olsen

Snuffy Smith, American World War II Propaganda

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Snuffy Smith (Bob Duncan) is a moonshining hillbilly from the Ozarks who's always on the run from revenue agent Ed Cooper - which he eventually grows tired of, so he tries to get himself enlisted in the army ... but the army rejects him until he saves the life of General Rosewater (J.Farrell MacDonald), who's almost run over by a motorbike - and thus, Snuffy becomes a soldier after all. But much to his dismay, revenue agent Ed Cooper was in the meantime enlisted as well, and is now his direct superior. Still, that doesn't keep Snuffy from making a mess of his soldier days, he continually sleeps on the job and doesn't shy away from abusing the regiment's kitchen to produce his moonshine and let his fellow soldiers have some of it - so much so that even General Rosewater sees no other option than to have him dismissed.

Meanwhile, Snuffy's soldier friend Don (Jimmie Dodd) has invented a new and vastly improved range view, which (this being World War II-time) a couple of Fifth Columnists are more than interested in, and eventually they even manage to steal the thing, but to smuggle it out of the army camp, they hide it in Snuffy's backpack - and later have troubles getting it back ...

At around the same time, General Rosewater is preparing his regiment for a maneuvre taking place in - you guessed it - the Ozarks, and soon enough he realizes how indispensable Snuffy would be as a scout since he knows the area. Heck, he even goes so far as to make Snuffy Ed Coopers superior, once he has laid his hands on him.

In the end of course, the Fifth Columnists are captured, Don's range view is returned to him, and he can put it to good use in General Rosewater's little wargames and help his blue team win against the white team led by a rival General ...

 

So so army comedy with the then customary patriot message, relieing a bit too much on hillbilly and backwoods humour to really work and invariably going for the cheap joke. Then again, there are way worse comedies around.

The film Hillbilly Blitzkrieg brought the comic strip character Snuffy Smith back to the big screen later the same year.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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