Blu-ray Review: Collector’s Edition of Abbott & Costello Classic ‘Buck Privates’

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CHICAGO – I have a confession — I grew up watching Abbott & Costello movies. I can remember watching them at a very early age and getting into the hysterical verbal jousting of two stellar movie comedians. The timing in some of the best bits from Bud Abbott & Lou Costello is simply amazing. And watching it again, in their breakthrough debut “Buck Privates,” a film in the Universal 100th Anniversary Collection series of Blu-rays and the first Abbott & Costello movie in HD, I was stunned at how much I still loved it. Abbott & Costello rock. Blu-ray Rating: 4.5/5.0
Blu-ray Rating: 4.5/5.0

Throw your chest out, private.

I’m not through with it yet.

If that silly exchange of verbal wordplay doesn’t make you smile, don’t bother with “Buck Privates.” Here, let’s try another one:

You got three dollars?

Roughly speaking.” [Pause.] “When you smooth it out, I got a buck.

Personally, I find that kind of silly, vaudeville-inspired comedy hysterical. There’s an amazing bit in “Buck Privates” in which Abbott asks Costello to borrow $50. The poor guy only has $40. “So, you’ll owe me ten.” Abbott & Costello fans know where that kind of thinking will lead.

“Buck Privates” was the breakthrough for the boys, not only their debut but one of the first films made about the WWII draft. Co-starring The Andrews Sisters (and an Oscar winner for “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”), it’s not one of their best plot-wise but it does feature some spectacular bits and shows why they instantly became huge stars. The Blu-ray comes with a perfect transfer and a scattering of special features. The Universal Anniversary Blu-rays have been a bit inconsistent in terms of bonus material with some coming more “special” than others. However, just being reminded of my love for Abbott & Costello was special enough.

Buck Privates
Buck Privates
Photo credit: Universal

Comedy legends Bud Abbott and Lou Costello cemented their place in film history with the hilarious wartime comedy classic Buck Privates. After spending years on stage in burlesque and on radio perfecting classic routines such as “Who’s on First?,” the duo transitioned to motion picture at Universal in 1940. In their first leading roles, Bud and Lou play con artists who accidentally enlist in the U.S. Army to avoid going to jail. Making matters worse, their no-nonsense drill sergeant turns out to be the cop who tried to arrest them! Featuring classic routines such as “Drill,” “Dice Game” and “You’re Forty, She’s Ten,” the film also starred the popular singing group The Andrews Sisters performing the Academy Award-nominated song “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.” Following the success of Buck Privates, Bud and Lou made an astounding 26 more movies at Universal leaving a legacy of laughter that will be treasured forever.

Special Features:
o Abbott And Costello Meet Jerry Seinfeld
o 100 Years Of Universal: Restoring The Classics
o 100 Years Of Universal: The Carl Laemmle Era
o 100 Years Of Universal: Unforgettable Characters
o Theatrical Trailer

“Buck Privates” stars Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, and The Andrews Sisters. It was released on Blu-ray/DVD combo pack on April 17, 2012. content director Brian Tallerico

Content Director

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Abbott & Costello

Wow.. you talk about bringing back some memories! The whole family would sit and watch Abbott & Costello… no matter what else was going on! You talk about some good old fashioned clean family entertainment. You can’t get any better then that… they still crack me up every time I see them and I still take every opportunity I get to watch! Thanks for the memories!!

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