Search This Blog

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Sgt. Bilko

Lately I seem to be typing out a lot of abbreviated blog entries.  For some reason, my September has been incredibly busy.  So, when it comes to today's SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE MOVIES POST, I'm going to be a bit on the brief side.  This movie post is mostly going to be presented in the form of trivia about this movie.  I suppose it best fits with the whole idea of my not revealing any movie endings in this and any movie post that I do. 

I will be the first one to admit that while today's feature presentation did have a lot of star power, it tanked at the box office.  The movie didn't even make enough money to break even.

And as it so happens, this movie discussion will be the ninth of a ten part series.  As you well know, I bought a collection of family favourites at my workplace some time ago, and have been watching one of these movies a week and writing a blog about them.  Some of the movies were hits (at least in my opinion).  Some of the movies were misses (at least in my opinion), but I would hope that at least it inspired some memories (both good and bad) and discussion about these movies.

Anyway, for today's edition of the blog, we're going to be taking a look back at a movie that was inspired by a television show from the 1950s.  It was a show known as "The Phil Silvers Show", which featured comedy actor Phil Silvers in the role of a Master Sergeant at a fictional U.S. Army post in the middle of Kansas where he was in charge of several soldiers.  However, the plot of the show was centered around this man's questionable work ethic.  Often he would use his time coming up with get rich schemes, or passing the buck to other people.

Basically, he spent more time trying to get out of work than actually doing work.

Now, as a television show, this formula worked well.  It lasted four seasons on CBS between 1955 and 1959.  But when this concept was remade as a feature film in 1996, it didn't do so well.

I mean, it wasn't as though Steve Martin didn't try his best to make the movie a success.  I think he did what he could.  But unfortunately, his take as Sgt. Bilko simply didn't resonate with the audience.

And that's the whole summary of the film Sgt. Bilko, released in March 1996.  It was a movie that had a great cast, but a really terrible script, and while Martin, Dan Aykroyd, and the late Phil Hartman did their best to save the film from getting panned, the end result was mixed to negative reviews with only a 32% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. 

Ah, still did better than Ed.

Anyway, as I'm on a time crunch, so this post will mostly be all about the behind the scenes trivia for this movie and not so much about the plot - however, I suppose that if you were old enough to watch back in the 1950s, it would read like an extended length episode.

So, instead of focusing on the plot of this film, let's have a look at some of the people who worked on the film, some of the on-set secrets, and other tidbits of fun from this movie.

And yes...I really did say tidbits of fun!

01 - Brian Grazer was a producer on this film...and I suppose that every great producer has to have one film flop in order for them to learn from their mistakes and go on to produce greatness in the future.  After all, he did win an Academy Award for his work on "A Beautiful Mind" six years after working on this film.

02 - Another key player in this movie is music producer Alan Silvestri.  He also worked on "Back to the Future" and "Forrest Gump".

03 - This was one of comedian Chris Rock's first roles in the world of film - though he had already established himself as a stand-up comic long before Sgt. Bilko was released.

04 - Country singer Travis Tritt starred as himself in this movie.

05 - Michael Keaton and Albert Brooks turned down the role of Sgt. Bilko.

06 - On the flipside, Robin Williams and Billy Crystal actually lobbied for the part before it was ultimately given to Steve Martin.

07 - Phil Silvers' daughter Cathy has a role as Lt. Monday in this film.

08 - Look closely at Bilko's stripes on his uniform in the movie.  Each gold stripe is a service stripe, and each stripe represents three years of service.  Since he has nine stripes on each arm, he has been in the service for 27 years.

09 - The film's budget was $39 million.  It only made $37 million at the box office.

10 - Just two years after making this movie, actress Debra Jo Rupp was cast as Kitty Foreman on "That 70s Show".

And, yeah.  That's really all I have to say.  I promise that next week's entry will be a little more in depth as I will have less of a time crunch to worry about.  In the meantime, I can promise you that next week marks the conclusion of the 10-part series...and I saved one of my favourites for last.

No comments:

Post a Comment