Star Andy Griffith's comedic timing is perfect in a role that helped make him a national celebrity. Griffith is Will Stockdale, a country bumpkin who is drafted into the air force during the cold war. Sergeant King (Myron McCormick) is a lifer pleased with the ease and repetition of his path, which ends abruptly with the arrival of the naive Southerner. King fumes and schemes in an effort to control the company damage that derives from Stockdale's bumblings and terminal curiousity. The company psychiatrist proves no match for Stockdale's backwoods wisdom, and death itself is defeated when Stockdale shows up to his own funeral in one of the funniest scenes in the film. Griffith's comic rendering of Stockdale is surpisingly three-dimensional, combining intelligence and warmth with bizarre misconceptions about his place in the world as an army inductee. The supporting cast is also excellent, including Don Knotts, Nick Adams, Benny Baker, and Jamie Farr.
Mervyn LeRoy - American Director/Producer
Murray Hamilton - American Character Actor
Myron McCormick - American Character Actor
Don Knotts - American Comedic Actor, F-TROOP
Nick Adams - American actor, THE REBEL/FRANKENSTEIN CONQUERS...
Andy Griffith - Actor, THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW
Andrew Samuel Griffith - Actor, THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW
Ed Begley - Oscar-winning supporting actor, THE GREAT GATSBY/12 ANGRY ME
Edward Begley - Oscar-winning supporting actor, THE GREAT GATSBY/12 ANGRY ME
Griffith had plenty of prep time for the role, having played Stockdale in both the Broadway play and a television special that preceded the film. The story served as the inspiration for GOMER PYLE, which would spin off from Griffith's own ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW.