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History Film / FrancisTheTalkingMule

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* OneSteveLimit: In ''Francis Goes to the Races'', besides the title character, there is a woman named Frances. This is discussed a few times and there are a few moments of confusion.


* MirrorRoutine: Done by Peter and Slicker in ''Francis in the Navy'', though they do the gag to full others when trying to hide the fact that there's two of them who look alike.




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* UnusuallyUninterestingSight: Discussed in ''Francis in the Navy'' when Peter sees Francis talking to Slicker and realizes that he does not find a talking horse unusual.


All told, Francis made seven features for Universal Studios between 1950 and 1956. In ''Francis'' (a.k.a ''Francis the Talkin Mule'') (1950), his screen debut, the chattering mule rescues a soldier (O'Connor) on a secret mission in Burma during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII. The second feature, ''Francis Goes to the Races'' (1951), involved him in shenanigans at a horse track. ''Francis Goes to West Point'' (1952) was a collegiate comedy with an exciting climax set at the annual Army-Navy football game. ''Francis Covers the Big Town'' (1953) depicted O'Connor as a newspaperman saved from a murder charge by a heroic Francis. ''Francis Joins the [=WACs=]'' (1954) had O'Connor rejoin the military, with the babbling burro in tow. The next year's ''Francis in the Navy'' was O'Connor's last film in the series, a seafaring romp that also featured a young Creator/ClintEastwood. The final film in the Francis series was 1956's ''Francis in the Haunted House''. Creator/MickeyRooney took over for O'Connor in the sidekick role, while Creator/PaulFrees assumed the voice of Francis. The horror comedy had Francis frustrating some art forgers.

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All told, Francis made seven features for Universal Studios between 1950 and 1956. In ''Francis'' (a.k.a ''Francis the Talkin Talking Mule'') (1950), his screen debut, the chattering mule rescues a soldier (O'Connor) on a secret mission in Burma during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII. The second feature, ''Francis Goes to the Races'' (1951), involved him in shenanigans at a horse track. ''Francis Goes to West Point'' (1952) was a collegiate comedy with an exciting climax set at the annual Army-Navy football game. ''Francis Covers the Big Town'' (1953) depicted O'Connor as a newspaperman saved from a murder charge by a heroic Francis. ''Francis Joins the [=WACs=]'' (1954) had O'Connor rejoin the military, with the babbling burro in tow. The next year's ''Francis in the Navy'' was O'Connor's last film in the series, a seafaring romp that also featured a young Creator/ClintEastwood. The final film in the Francis series was 1956's ''Francis in the Haunted House''. Creator/MickeyRooney took over for O'Connor in the sidekick role, while Creator/PaulFrees assumed the voice of Francis. The horror comedy had Francis frustrating some art forgers.

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* NotSoImaginaryFriend: Everyone could see Francis, but for the most part, Peter was the only one he would talk to, although it was often subverted when Francis ''would'' talk someone else when Peter was really in a jam.

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* ClearTheirName: Francis has to clear Peter's name when he is accused of murder in ''Francis Covers the Big Town''.

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* GirlOfTheWeek: Peter Sterling gets involved with a different beautiful woman in every film of the series.

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* ScoobyDooHoax: In ''Francis in the Haunted House'', a gang of art forgers set up operations in a spooky old mansion on the edge of town, and use its reputation as being haunted scare away anyone who might get too close.

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[[quoteright:350:https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/francis_the_talking_mule_poster1.png]]


* OddballInTheSeries: ''Francis in the Haunted House'', the last film of the series, was made without the involvement of series director Arthur Lubin, star Donald O'Connor, or Francis' voice actor Creator/ChillWills. Instead it is directed by Charles Lamont, stars Creator/MickeyRooney as new character David Prescott, and has Creator/PaulFrees providing the voice of Francis (by impersonating Wills).



* SeriesOddball: ''Francis in the Haunted Hall'', the last film of the series, was made without the involvement of series director Arthur Lubin, star Donald O'Connor, or Francis' voice actor Creator/ChillWills. Instead it is directed by Charles Lamont, stars Creator/MickeyRooney as new character David Prescott, and has Creator/PaulFrees providing the voice of Francis (by impersonating Wills).

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* SeriesOddball: ''Francis in the Haunted Hall'', the last film of the series, was made without the involvement of series director Arthur Lubin, star Donald O'Connor, or Francis' voice actor Creator/ChillWills. Instead it is directed by Charles Lamont, stars Creator/MickeyRooney as new character David Prescott, and has Creator/PaulFrees providing the voice of Francis (by impersonating Wills).

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* FixingTheGame: In ''Francis Goes to the Races'', Francis the Talking Mule and his sidekick Peter Sterling visit Colonel Travers and his granddaughter on their family horse farm. Peter soon finds himself involved in the world of horse racing and a crime boss and his men trying to "fix" races involving the Travers' horses.


* IndenticalStranger: In ''Francis in the Navy'', U.S. Army officer Lt. Peter Sterling gets mistaken for his lookalike in the U.S. Navy, Bosun's Mate 'Slicker' Donevan, and as a result gets promptly shipped to Donevan's base.

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* IndenticalStranger: IdenticalStranger: In ''Francis in the Navy'', U.S. Army officer Lt. Peter Sterling gets mistaken for his lookalike in the U.S. Navy, Bosun's Mate 'Slicker' Donevan, and as a result gets promptly shipped to Donevan's base.

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* TokyoRose: In ''Francis'', Sterling is befriended by Maureen Gelder, a beautiful French refugee, during one of his enforced hospital stays. He grows to trust her and tells her about Francis. Later, a propaganda radio broadcast from Tokyo Rose mocks the Allies for being advised by a mule. This leads to the suspicion of Stirling or Maureen being a Japanese agent.


* PreWarCivilianCareer: In ''Francis'', human protagonist 2nd Lt. Stirling was a bank teller before World War II and resumed his job afterwards. The FramingDevice is him explaining the story of how he met Francis to his boss.

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* IndenticalStranger: In ''Francis in the Navy'', U.S. Army officer Lt. Peter Sterling gets mistaken for his lookalike in the U.S. Navy, Bosun's Mate 'Slicker' Donevan, and as a result gets promptly shipped to Donevan's base.
* PreWarCivilianCareer: In ''Francis'', human protagonist 2nd Lt. Stirling Sterling was a bank teller before World War II and resumed his job afterwards. The FramingDevice is him explaining the story of how he met Francis to his boss.


* ADegreeInUseless: Averted in ''Drancis''. Army Intelligence goes on a recruitment drive, and one of the volunteers was a professor of philosophy at Duke University before he was drafted, which is considered a plus. (Though it's also worth noting he apparently [[CunningLinguist speaks several languages of the Far East]].)

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* ADegreeInUseless: Averted in ''Drancis''.''Francis''. Army Intelligence goes on a recruitment drive, and one of the volunteers was a professor of philosophy at Duke University before he was drafted, which is considered a plus. (Though it's also worth noting he apparently [[CunningLinguist speaks several languages of the Far East]].)

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