Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

What’s Next, Corporal Hargrove?


A sequel to See Here, Private Hargrove, which was based on the autobiographical novel by the eponymous hero, Marion Hargrove. The book detailed the exploits of the innocent, bumbling Hargrove (Robert Walker) and his scheming buddy, Mulvihill (Keenan Wynn) during boot camp. This movie takes them to France, and an artillery unit where they can continue their bumbling ways.

From the late ‘40s right into the ‘60s they made a lot of these “service comedies.” A huge percentage of a generation of young men had seen military service, either in combat or behind the lines. It all resonated with them. Even the most combat-hardened G.I.s, airmen, leathernecks, and swabbies had down time when not much was happening between battles, and I don’t doubt that a lot of fun was had. There was always a wheeler-dealer like Mulvihill in these films, there among the men named Tex and Lefty and Smitty and Jonesey and Sparks and Jewboy and a gruff sergeant named O’Hara. I’m sure you’ve seen some of them. Often there was something sad and/or bittersweet about them, as in Mister Roberts.

I’m sorry to say this one doesn’t even come close to the best of them. In fact, it was so boring that I gave up halfway through. Robert Walker was a much more interesting actor when playing a psychopath like he did so wonderfully in Strangers on a Train than in lightweight material like this.