Operation Mad Ball (1957)

Approved   |    |  Comedy, War

Operation Mad Ball (1957) Poster

In post-WW2 France, U.S. Army hospital private Hogan and Captain Lock try to outwit one another on issues such as wooing pretty nurses, accounting for missing medical supplies, organizing unauthorized dances and influencing their C.O.


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24 January 2009 | dougdoepke
Needs Rediscovery
What breaks down military discipline faster than pull from the opposite sex. But that's what's happening to the enlisted men of a hospital detachment US Army with all those fetching nurse officers next to them. It's France right after the war and the boys are getting restless. The trouble is that Capt. Locke (Kovacs) is a pompous stickler for discipline, while mastermind Pvt. Hogan (Lemmon) schemes to let nature take its course. It's a hilarious battle between enlisted men and officers. Can fast-talking Hogan put on his mad-ball mixer before killjoy Locke foils his romantic plans. Both comedians are in fine form, making this a service comedy whose modest budget and b&w photography probably got lost in the mix of the time. Too bad, because the movie's fast paced, full of clever situations, with an attractive and lively cast.

Kovacs and Lemmon are a great pairing, showing again how much delicious humbug was lost in that tragic Kovacs auto accident. Support comes through, as well- a demure Kathryn Grant as the wide-eyed lieutenant, a cranky Dick York as the frustrated corporal, and a rhyming Mickey Rooney as the "twiddle-de-de, it must be me" logistics sergeant--- all orchestrated by up-and-coming director Richard Quine. Anyway, this is a good chance to catch up with the whole madcap bunch in a movie that remains a genuine sleeper. Now if I could just figure out what the heck an ocarina is.

Critic Reviews


Release Date:

17 August 1957


English, French, German

Country of Origin


Filming Locations

Hollywood, California, USA

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