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DOUGHBOYS (director: Edward Sedgwick; screenwriters: story by Al Boasberg andSidney Lazarus/Richard Schayer; cinematographer: Leonard Smith; editor: William LeVanway; music: William Axt; cast: Buster Keaton (Elmer), Sally Eilers (Mary), Cliff Edwards (Nescopeck), Edward Brophy (Sgt. Brophy), Victor Potel (Svendenburg), Arnold Korff (Gustave), Frank Mayo (Capt. Scott), Pitzy Katz (Abie Cohn), William Steele (Lt. Randolph); Runtime: 79; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: ; Kino; 1930)

Buster Keaton’s second talkie for MGM is a stinker.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Buster Keaton’s second talkie for MGM is a stinker. Edward Sedgwick (“The Cameraman”/”Spite Marriage”/”A Southern Yankee”)blandly directs the conventional narrative. It’s based on a story byAl Boasberg andSidney Lazarus;the writer isRichard Schayer.The lame military comedy is never better or worse than your typical Abbott & Costello war pic.

Idler wimpy rich boy Elmer Stuyvesant (Buster Keaton) tries in vain to pick up shopgirl Mary (Sally Eilers) in his Rolls Royce, as she leaves work. During this time his chauffeur enlists to fight in WWI, at its outbreak. Elmer seeks another chauffeur, but mistakes a recruiting station for the unemployment office and gets roped into volunteering for the army. Drill instructorSgt. Brophy (Edward Brophy) verbally berates the misfit recruit. The only good thing is that Elmer meets his dream girl Mary, who volunteers for service to entertain the troops overseas. Mary now dates Elmer because of the uniform.

In France, Elmer accidentally becomes a war hero when he enters the German trenches and meets his former servant Gustave (Arnold Korff). After giving the starving German soldiers food, the grateful Germans return the favor by giving Elmer a lugar as a souvenir and unwittingly wrap it in a map that has their war plans.

The wildest comedy scene has Buster dancing in drag and his soldier buddy Nescopeck (Cliff Edwards) playing the ukulele at an army show, as the dance ends up in a wrestling match.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”