The Last Time I Saw Archie

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The Last Time I Saw Archie
Poster of the movie The Last Time I Saw Archie.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jack Webb
Produced by Jack Webb
Written by William Bowers
Starring Robert Mitchum
Jack Webb
Martha Hyer
France Nuyen
Distributed by United Artists
Release dates
May 27, 1961
Running time
98 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Last Time I Saw Archie is a 1961 comedy film set in the waning days of World War II.[1] Robert Mitchum stars as a lazy, scheming American soldier based on Arch Hall Sr. who is in an aviation school for pilots too old to fly aircraft but not too old to fly military gliders and liaison aircraft. Jack Webb produced, directed and costarred.[1]


In flying school, lazy Private Archie Hall somehow dominates everyone around him, fellow trainees, sergeants and officers alike, and manages to avoid doing any work. Bill Bowers, a Hollywood screenwriter in civilian life, becomes his sidekick. An initially hostile, suspicious trio of privates, Sam Beacham, Russell Drexler and Frank Ostrow, are penalized for opposing him and eventually smarten up and become his pals as well. Archie exudes so much self-confidence that Master Sergeant Stanley Erlenheim becomes convinced that he is an undercover G-2 (counterintelligence) general. Erlenheim and his underling, Sergeant Malcolm Greenbriar, arrange it so that Archie and his buddies are given permanent passes and a personal jeep, so they can leave the training base whenever they please. Archie sees Cindy Hamilton every night, while Bill pairs off with Peggy Kramer. Archie also arranges for the three other privates to acquire gorgeous girlfriends as well.

As time goes by, Bill comes to suspect that Cindy is a Japanese spy, but he cannot get Archie to take it seriously (even though Cindy keeps giving him money in outsized old bills). It turns out that Cindy actually is a spy, but for American counterintelligence, despite the opposition of her guardian, Colonel Edwin Martin, the base commander. Sergeants Erlenheim and Greenbriar get into trouble when they break down the door of her apartment, thinking they will catch her in the act of reporting to the enemy, only to find her presenting her findings to Martin.

As the war winds down, requirements change and the trainees are given the choice of retraining to become either gunners or glider pilots. Archie and Bill opt for the latter, despite the supposedly high casualty rate, so the other three do the same, only to discover that Archie and Bill have gotten themselves safe jobs at the base. However, the war ends before any of them see combat.

Archie invites himself to spend a week with Bill in Hollywood. Bill is shown hard at work in his tiny office at a film studio; Archie has somehow become his boss, and has just been promoted to head of the studio. Bill jokes about seeing him in the White House. A later newspaper headline states that Governor Hall has decided to run for President.


The film’s main character played by Robert Mitchum was based on Arch Hall Sr., whom screenwriter William Bowers knew in the war.[2] However, the film was made without the permission of Hall, who successfully sued the producers and won a settlement.[3] The film is also the debuts of baseball pitcher Don Drysdale and football quarterback Billy Kilmer. Portions of the film were shot at Fort MacArthur.



  1. ^ a b "The Last Time I Saw Archie". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ p.3 Weaver, Tom Richard Alden Interview I Talked with a Zombie: Interviews with 23 Veterans of Horror and Sci-fi Films and Television McFarland, 2009
  3. ^ p.193 Weaver, Tom Eye on Science Fiction 2003 McFarland

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