Series: Streamliner

Director: Fred Guiol
Producer: Fred Guiol, Hal Roach
Screenplay: Eugene Conrad, Edward E Seabrook
Photography: Robert Pittack
Editor: Richard C. Currier
Music: Edward Ward
Art director: Charles D. Hall
Sound: William Randall

Stars: William Tracy, Joe Sawyer, James Gleason, Noah Beery Jr, Elyse Knox
Company: United Artists
Released: 12 December 1941
Length: 5 reels
Production No.: F-41
Filming dates:
Rating: 3/10

Hay Foot

Available on DVD:

Following on from the events in Tanks A Million, we are back at Camp Carver where Colonel Barkley asks Sgt. Doubleday to write a speech for him on the relationship between officers and the men. Doubleday types it up but when they are distracted by a commotion outside the paper accidentally burns. So Doubleday assists the colonel in feeding him the speech as the colonel addresses the men on the parade ground. Sgt. Ames conducts a class pointing out the specifics of a 45 calibre gun but Doubleday challenges him for giving the wrong information and promptly takes over the lesson, even after Mr. Hutton, a weapons expert enters the room and tries to show off an army rifle. Much to the chagrin of Ames, Doubleday receives high praise from the colonel who has come to inspect the class.
  On the firing range Doubleday has trouble with his gun, which doesn't respond as it ought to so the captain sends him away to practice in the woods. There he inadvertently shoots and kills a hawk which has been circling over a lake and preventing the colonel in catching any fish. When the colonel sees Doubleday he congratulates him for his excellent shooting skills and introduces him to his daughter. The colonel eventually catches a big fish but it breaks free of the line and is about to jump back into the lake when Doubleday trips and accidentally shoots it dead. The colonel tells Doubleday that he thinks he is the best shot in the entire army! So much so that he makes a wager with Sergeants Ames and Cobb that Doubleday can beat them both in the up and coming National Pistol Shoot. In a practice run Doubleday fails miserably when he loses to Ames in a target shooting contest supervised by a very frustrated colonel. That evening Ames, Doubleday and Cobb all attend a dinner engagement after they read a letter from Betty which is addressed to "The Best Shot In The Army" - which each man believes it to be themselves.
Cobb shows up first, followed by Ames and finally Doubleday. Ames and Cobb are incensed with Doubleday's appearance so no sooner as he arrives they grab him and throw him out of the window -- twice! When Betty goes to fetch a glass of water from the kitchen for her guests the doorbell rings and thinking it is Doubleday, the men go to the door, grab him and attempt to throw him out of the window for a third time before realising it is Colonel Barkley. After Barkley gives them a piece of his mind he heads off to get freshened up for the dinner. Outside Doubleday calls attention to Cobb and Ames that he is now in possession of their pistols which Betty had taken from them earlier for safe keeping. He threatens to have his dog drop the weapons down the well unless the men start behaving towards him. When the colonel orders Ames and Cobb to remove Doubleday from his house both men refuse to do so and claim Doubleday has some mystery power over them.
Unconvinced, the colonel asks for a demonstration so Doubleday gets Ames and Cobb performing the pattycake/Mother Goose routine right in front of him. The colonel forgives Doubleday and they all sit down to dinner where Doubleday continues his mind games over the two sergeants and suggests they don't need any more food, which they reluctantly agree with because they don't want to lose their guns down the well. With dinner out of the way the colonel gathers them all round the piano to sing a harmony of 'The Old Oaken Bucket'. But during the song Doubleday begins to whistle the tune, bringing his dog to the window which means the officers' guns have now fallen down the well. Cobb and Ames promptly leave and retrieve their guns while Doubleday encourages the colonel to sleep in the barracks with him. Cobb and Ames sneak in and throw the colonel and his bed out of the window thinking it is Doubleday. When they realise their mistake it's too late... they are demoted to Privates!

Favourite bit
Doubleday shoots the fish!

Copyrighted December 15, 1941.
This was the second film to be released as part of the 'streamliner' series by the studio which featured William Tracy and Joe Sawyer in the lead roles. The other five were "Tanks A Million", "About Face", "Fall In", "Yanks Ahoy" and "Here Comes Trouble".
When Sgt. Ames is chalking on the blackboard and falls to the ground he leaves a distinctive squiggle line on the board. When he returns to the board the squiggle has disappeared.
It's weird that Doubleday doesn't know the colonel's daughter, played by Elyse Knox because she played his love interest in the previous film (as a different character)!
At least one source lists Harold Goodwin's character as a lieutenant but he is referred to as a captain in the film by Sgt. Ames.
My opinion
Much slower and much less enjoyable than "Tanks A Million". The relationship between Ames and Doubleday is really watered down and lacks the comedy element which was there previously. The film just about retains your attention but struggles at times as it slowly runs out of steam and crawls towards the end.

William Tracy
Sergeant 'Dodo' Doubleday
Joe Sawyer
Sergeant Ames
James Gleason
Colonel J.A. Barkley
Noah Beery Jr.
Sgt. Charlie Cobb
Elyse Knox
Betty Barkley
Douglas Fowley
Captain Rossmead
Harold Goodwin
Captain Caldwell
Joe Cunningham
Mr. Hutton
Frank Faylen
Etta McDaniel
Barkley's cook
Dick Wessel
Eddie Hall
Corporal Gilpin

CREDITS (click image to enlarge)

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Gene Sorkin (help)
ClassicFlix (supplying DVD for review)
Jesse Brisson (identification of Harold Goodwin)
Richard Finegan (on-set stills, lobby card, publicity material)

This page was last updated on: 08 April 2020