Synopsis: Friendly but dim-witted backwoods resident Will Stockdale is drafted into the United States Air Force. Instead of putting him through basic training, his sergeant decides to make him "permanent latrine orderly." However, when the commanding officer finds out, the sergeant is given a week to help Stockdale pass all the necessary tests or risk losing his stripes.
Movie Review: No Time for Sergeants (1958)
A review of the military comedy starring Andy Griffith and Myron McCormick.
My wife had to work last night and, wanting to stay up and wait for her, I ended up watching this movie after my kids went to bed. This is a film I've seen parts of before but, up until last night, had never watched in its entirety. And, as it turns out, this is one of the funniest military comedies I've seen.
Andy Griffith is fantastic as the country bumpkin, Pvt. Stockwell. I love how his character is drafted, survives basic training and is assigned without realizing he's typically being punished for either annoying his sergeant (McCormick) or not performing up to expectations (though the latter, admittedly, might be his sergeant's fault). Listening to him narrate and explain the various experiences in simple terms just adds to that.
And, of course, when he does get assigned to an airplane, you just know something bad is going to be the result. But, to be fair, even that was somewhat unpredictable because, one moment, he seemed like he was going to be the hero and, the next, he had two generals (Will Hutchins and Howard Smith) trying to figure out how to keep him from embarrassing the military and avoid losing their pensions.
While Griffith is the star of this film and does a great job in that lead role, I think a big part of the charm of this movie are his supporting co-stars. The most memorable parts of this movie, in my opinion, are the bizarre characters he is forced to interact with, whether it's his somewhat lazy sergeant, his paranoid bunk mate (Adams), an overly excitable corporal (Knotts) or an extremely impatient psychiatrist (Millhollin). The movie might still have been funny without these characters. But, I don't know if it would have ever been considered a classic like it is today.
This is a fantastic military comedy that is funny both because of its star and its supporting cast. If you haven't watched this movie, you are missing something.
My Grade: A
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