Francis Goes to West Point (1952)

81 mins | Comedy | July 1952

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HISTORY

According to HR news items, exteriors were shot at West Point in New York. A Dec 1951 HR news item states that some backgrounds were shot using the biggest photo mural ever made. The mural depicted the United States Military Academy quadrangle, and consisted of forty-eight photographs cemented to a 13 x 15-foot canvas. Francis Goes to West Point was the third entry in Universal's "Francis" series. For more information on the series, please consult the Series Index and see the entry for Francis in the AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 ... More Less

According to HR news items, exteriors were shot at West Point in New York. A Dec 1951 HR news item states that some backgrounds were shot using the biggest photo mural ever made. The mural depicted the United States Military Academy quadrangle, and consisted of forty-eight photographs cemented to a 13 x 15-foot canvas. Francis Goes to West Point was the third entry in Universal's "Francis" series. For more information on the series, please consult the Series Index and see the entry for Francis in the AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 . More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
21 Jun 1952.
---
Daily Variety
13 Jun 52
p. 3.
Film Daily
23 Jun 52
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Nov 51
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Nov 51
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Dec 51
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Dec 51
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Jun 52
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
14 Jun 52
p. 1397.
New York Times
23 Aug 52
p. 10.
Variety
18 Jun 52
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
2d unit dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Story and scr
Addl dial
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
Makeup
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on characters created by David Stern.
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Series:
Release Date:
July 1952
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 11 Jul 1952
Production Date:
29 Nov 1951--early Jan 1952
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co., inc.
Copyright Date:
12 June 1952
Copyright Number:
LP1770
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
81
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
15837
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

When Pete Stirling's pal Francis, a talking mule, tells him that the atomic defense plant at which Pete works is about to be blown up by terrorists, Pete immediately informs the police. That night, the police and plant guards dismiss Pete as insane when nothing goes wrong and Pete claims his source was a talking mule. As the police prepare to leave, however, Pete, working off another tip from Francis, begs them to stop a water truck entering the plant. When they do, they discover the water is actually an explosive liquid, and Pete is declared a hero. Although Pete is small and not very bright, the Army grants him an appointment to the West Point military academy. There, Pete is befriended by his roommates, football player William Norton and a tough general's son, Wilbur Van Allen, both of whom are nicknamed Bill. The upper-class cadets haze the new students, or "plebes," mercilessly. Pete, who quickly sinks to last in his class, is told that he has two weeks to improve or be thrown out of the school. In a rare act of charity, Francis signs on as a West Point mascot in order to tutor Pete, who helps the plebe rise to twenty-fourth in the class. However, when rival cadet Corporal Ransom pushes Pete to reveal his tutor, and Pete names Francis, he is punished with six weeks of walking duty. During a revue of troops a few days later, Cynthia, the daughter of the commandent of cadets, Colonel Daniels, visits Van Allen and realizes that, although their parents want them to date, Van Allen loves his long-time secret girl friend, Barbara Atwood. After Francis' barked orders to ... +


When Pete Stirling's pal Francis, a talking mule, tells him that the atomic defense plant at which Pete works is about to be blown up by terrorists, Pete immediately informs the police. That night, the police and plant guards dismiss Pete as insane when nothing goes wrong and Pete claims his source was a talking mule. As the police prepare to leave, however, Pete, working off another tip from Francis, begs them to stop a water truck entering the plant. When they do, they discover the water is actually an explosive liquid, and Pete is declared a hero. Although Pete is small and not very bright, the Army grants him an appointment to the West Point military academy. There, Pete is befriended by his roommates, football player William Norton and a tough general's son, Wilbur Van Allen, both of whom are nicknamed Bill. The upper-class cadets haze the new students, or "plebes," mercilessly. Pete, who quickly sinks to last in his class, is told that he has two weeks to improve or be thrown out of the school. In a rare act of charity, Francis signs on as a West Point mascot in order to tutor Pete, who helps the plebe rise to twenty-fourth in the class. However, when rival cadet Corporal Ransom pushes Pete to reveal his tutor, and Pete names Francis, he is punished with six weeks of walking duty. During a revue of troops a few days later, Cynthia, the daughter of the commandent of cadets, Colonel Daniels, visits Van Allen and realizes that, although their parents want them to date, Van Allen loves his long-time secret girl friend, Barbara Atwood. After Francis' barked orders to Pete confuse the whole school and ruin the revue, Cynthia flirts with Pete and increases his already severe punishment. That night at a dance, Cynthia and Pete dance until a group of plebes ride a costumed Francis around the dance floor. Pete, who insists that the colonel stop them, receives yet another punishment. The plebes soon graduate, and over the next year, Norton becomes the star of the school's football team, which wins because Francis whispers tips into Coach Chadwick's ear. When the coach confesses to the colonel that he thinks Francis can talk, they force Pete to bring them to the mule, who demonstrates his unique talent to save his friend. Soon after, Van Allen receives a letter from his sister stating that she is pregnant and so must tell her father about her secret marriage. Van Allen decides that it is also time to disclose his love for Barbara, and so leaves for home, over Norton's objections. When Pete finds the letter on Norton's bed, however, he assumes that Norton is secretly married and expecting a baby. Later, when Barbara visits, two officers overhear her talking to Norton about the secret marriage of one of his roommates. The colonel calls in Pete to explain, and the cadet, thinking he is saving Norton's academic and athletic career, pretends he is the married roommate. When Francis sees Pete leaving, he convinces the colonel to hold off on Pete's tendered resignation. That night, Cynthia informs her father that the letter was Van Allen's. At the big football game against Navy the following day, Francis finds Pete in the parking lot, listening sadly as Norton fumbles ball after ball. Francis tells Pete that the letter belonged to Van Allen and Norton is playing poorly because he is concerned for Pete. Pete rushes to the locker room, where Van Allen assures the boys that his father took the news well and Norton thanks Pete for trying to protect him. The coach then brings Francis into the locker room, and his advice leads them to triumph. Later, the colonel attempts to turn Francis over to the research department, but Francis dupes him with a lookalike mule and sneaks off after saying goodbye to Pete, who has reached the top of his class. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.