No Time for Sergeants (1958): Mervyn LeRoy’s Service Comedy, Starring Andy Griffith

Produced and directed by Mervyn LeRoy, No Time for Sergeants is a broadly popular service comedy starring Andy Griffith, and featuring some members of the original Broadway cast, such as Myron McCormick and Don Knotts.

No Time for Sergeants
No time for seargents - movie poster.png

1958 film poster

John Lee Mahin’s script was based on Ira Levin’s stage play, which in turned was adapted from the novel by Mac Hyman.

Griffith plays Will Stockdale, a Georgia backwoods rube, drafted into the US Air Force. He is joined in training by the dim and unhappy Ben Whitledge (Nick Adams),  who favors the infantry where his six brothers served, and obnoxious bully Irving S. Blanchard (Murray Hamilton).

At boot camp, Stockdale locks horns with Master Sergeant Orville C. King (Myron McCormick), who wants his barracks to be quiet and orderly. In exasperation, the sergeant places Stockdale on full-time latrine duty. Stockdale believes his new position of “P.L.O.” (Permanent Latrine Orderly) to be a promotion.

Rushing him through testing, King bribes Stockdale by promising to give him his wristwatch if he can pass. Stockdale takes a dexterity test from Corporal John C. Brown (Don Knotts), a psychiatric test from Maj. Royal B. Demming (James Millhollin), managing to get by after driving them all crazy–and getting the wristwatch as a reward.

Released on May 29, 1958, the movie was a huge commercial hit, the year’s fourth top grosser, earning $7.5 million in domestic rentals (about $15 million in receipts).

Credits:

Directed by Mervyn LeRoy
Produced by Mervyn LeRoy, Alex Segal
Written by John Lee Mahin, based on Mac Hyman (novel) and Ira Levin (play)
Narrated by Andy Griffith
Music by Ray Heindorf
Cinematography Harold Rosson
Edited by William H. Ziegler
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures

Release date: May 29, 1958

Running time: 119 minutes

Cast
Andy Griffith as Pvt. Will Stockdale
Myron McCormick as M/Sgt. Orville C. King
Nick Adams as Pvt. Benjamin B. Whitledge
Murray Hamilton as Irving S. Blanchard
Howard Smith as Maj. Gen. Eugene Bush, U.S. Air Force
Will Hutchins as Lt. George Bridges (B-25 pilot)
Sydney Smith as Maj. Gen. Vernon Pollard, U.S. Army
James Millhollin as Maj. Royal B. Demming (psychiatrist)
Don Knotts as Cpl. John C. Brown (dexterity tester)
Jean Willes as WAF Captain
Bartlett Robinson as Captain
Henry McCann as Lt. Cover
Dub Taylor as McKinney (draft board man)
William Fawcett as Pa Stockdale
Raymond Bailey as Base Colonel
Jamie Farr as Lt. Gardella B-25 (co-pilot)

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