Gung-ho billionaire playboy Brendan Byers III (Jerry Lewis) is rejected “4-F” for active service during the Second World War and decides to train his own private army of misfits to help fight the Nazis.
Declaring that “it’s every man’s right to be killed fighting for his country,” Brendan finances his own army, enlisting a handful of Uncle Sam’s rejects as recruits: Finkel (John Wood), Sid (Jan Murray), Peter Bland (Steve Franken), Terry Love (Dack Rambo) and Lincoln (former LA Dodger Willie Davis).
Perfunctory basic training takes place on Brendan’s 35-acre estate and the misfits are transformed into dead-eye marksmen on a golf-course-turned-rifle-range, instructed in sea survival in a swimming pool, hardened into unflinching hitmen under the tutelage of an ex-Mafioso, and alerted to the lethal usage of Camembert cheese.
The “dizzy half-dozen” then sail off to war in Europe onboard Brendan’s yacht.
Brendan poses as a sputtering Nazi commandant with a hair-brained scheme – the invasion of Switzerland . . . by tourists. He also becomes the bumbling bomb carrier in the ‘General’s plot’ assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler (Sidney Miller).
Few things in showbusiness are sadder to see than a comedian deserted by his muse. At Paramount, Jerry Lewis delivered comedies of genius such as The Nutty Professor (1963) – funny, witty and inspired.
At Columbia, this work declined, and here, in one of only two films he made for Warner Bros, he hits rock bottom with some untenable and tasteless material appallingly assembled and perfunctorily put together.
Jerry himself mugs unwatchably, and John Wood and Jan Murray offer professional, but futile, support.
In the UK, the title was mirthlessly preceded by “Ja, Ja, Mein General, But… “.
Brendan Byers III
General Luther Buck
Harold J Stone