No Time for Sergeants (1958)

No Time for Sergeants (1958) is coming to DVD on May 4 from Warner Brothers.  To be honest, when I got my copy for review I wasn’t really looking forward to taking a look at this one.   I’ve never enjoyed Andy Griffith.  Not with Opie.  Not as Matlock.  Never.

Well No Time for Sergeants probably won’t win Ole Andy any new fans, but it is a surprisingly good little film.  Having been originally a Broadway production, then a made for TV film, this film marked the third – and final – version.

Griffith, in a role which surely provided at least some basis for the later television hit Gomer Pyle, USMC, plays Private Will Stockdale.  Will is amiable enough but basically drives those around him quite batty.  Griffith is joined by a pretty stalwart supporting cast, including Myron McCormick and a rather obscure little sometime costar of Andy’s……Don Knotts.  This was Don and Andy’s first on-screen pairing and it goes rather well.

The humor pretty much what you’d expect for 1958.  Pretty tame stuff by today’s standards but there are some good set pieces, including one including a toilet seat which alone is worth the price of admission.  The only real downside of the film is that it really feels staged – you can see the piece’s Broadway roots.

Mervyn LeRoy of Mister Roberts fame directs.  The new DVD release looks quite good considering and it looks like perhaps some minimal cleanup may have been done on the original elements.  That being said, this doesn’t seem like the title to spend much of your restoration budget on if you are over at Warners.  There are no added features.

Marginally recommended.  (It’s good but Andy Griffith is no Errol Flynn.)  If you are a fan of Andy’s Southern charm though, this is a slam dunk for your collection.

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