The Last Time I Saw Archie
|The Last Time I Saw Archie|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Jack Webb|
|Produced by||Jack Webb|
|Written by||William Bowers|
|Distributed by||United Artists|
|May 27, 1961|
The Last Time I Saw Archie is a 1961 comedy film set in the waning days of World War II. 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.
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. However, the film was made without the permission of Hall, who successfully sued the producers and won a settlement. 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.
- Robert Mitchum as Archie Hall
- Jack Webb as William "Bill" Bowers
- Martha Hyer as Peggy Kramer
- France Nuyen as Cindy Hamilton
- Louis Nye as Pvt. Sam Beacham
- Joe Flynn as Pvt. Russell Drexler
- Del Moore as Pvt. Frank Ostrow
- Jimmy Lydon as Pvt. Billy Simpson
- Richard Arlen as Col. Edwin Martin
- Don Knotts as Capt. Harry Little
- Robert Strauss as MSgt. Stanley Erlenheim
- Harvey Lembeck as Sgt. Malcolm Greenbriar
- Claudia Barrett as Lola
- Theona Bryant as Daphne
- Elaine Devry as Carole
- Marilyn Burtis as Patsy Ruth
- Howard McNear as Gen. Williams
- James Mitchum as Corporal
- John Nolan as Lt. Oglemeyer
- Nancy Kulp as Miss Willoughby
- Don Drysdale as Soldier in E-Club
- Billy Kilmer as Soldier
- Lillian Powell
- The Last Time I Saw Archie at the Internet Movie Database
- The Last Time I Saw Archie at the TCM Movie Database